Hurricane Idalia wrecked much of Cedar Key but people here will brave destruction to live in paradise | US News
You can see why people would want to live in Florida’s Cedar Key. And you can see why they wouldn’t.
This idyllic coastline on the Gulf of Mexico is paradise-found for a beach community lounging in life’s low gear… on any other day.
Cedar Key wasn’t in the eye of the hurricane but it suffered from the storm surge.
A walk along the shoreline speaks to its power.
The Faraway Inn is a resort with holiday cottages in a line extending up from the water’s edge.
Cottages number two and three are structurally intact – just.
Cottage number one, however – closest to the water – has been flattened to a pile of rubble.
It is an arresting image of destruction, unsurprising in the wake of a hurricane.
But what’s also striking in Cedar Key is that more properties didn’t suffer the same fate.
It comes down to experience.
They’ve known severe weather events here and the infrastructure has been built on the lessons of the past.
Homes constructed more recently stand propped on stilts 10 metres high or more, with space beneath the living area to allow wind and water to blow and flow through.
Chuck Adams gave us a tour of his property on the front.
It didn’t have the stilts and it had suffered considerable damage – the whole ground floor was wrecked – but it remained standing.
Features of the building that worked in its favour were the collapsible “hurricane walls” that gave way to the impact of the elements and so didn’t harness any pull on the property’s structure.
People still come to Cedar Key, to live and buy here, sold on architectural answers and with an acceptance of risk.
There’s no doubting the positive spirit of the population.
Amid the buzz and grind of a clean-up operation that began instantly, all the talk among those we spoke to was of moving forward and building back – there was no thought of permanent departure.
They live with the prospect of hurricane damage and prepare accordingly.
It comes down to degrees of catastrophe and what they can live with.
Clearly, there’s a limit that lies beyond Hurricane Idalia.