CLEWISTON, FL. -- Recovery is slow in Clewiston, the hardest hit area of Hendry County. Except for a few businesses in the city, electric and water is not available for most area's residents, greatly inhibiting any attempts at home repairs and any sense of normalcy. In some areas around the Sherwood Subdivision of mobile homes southeast of the city, sewage is running on the streets from the overloaded sewers, while children play in the streets to the sounds of gas generators.
In the same Sherwood area most mobile homes suffered some damage to roofs and skirting while a few of the older ones seem to have completely imploded (photo above). The county has been placing an "X" on homes not habitable now numbering about 450 countywide.
Motorists have only one station on the east side of town and one a few files outside of town on the western side for gasoline. Be prepared to pay with cash.
At Clewiston's Airglades Airport giant hangar doors were torn from their mountings, damaging most aircraft stored inside. Even the county's brand new row of aircraft hangars lost many of it's doors. Both the Clewiston and LaBelle airport are now closed pending removal of debris from the hangar areas.
In the Harlem community outside Clewiston, and near the U.S. Sugar plant, a substantial number of homes suffered major damage or total devastation, and one church was missing part of it's roof. Harlem's housing mix constists of both conventional and mobile homes. One conventional home on Virginia Street was a total loss, one of very few conventional homes in the county to be completely destroyed.
At Pioneer Plantation, several miles west of Clewiston, electric has been restored to homes along Hendry Isles Blvd., while more outlying streets still await power crews. The entire Pioneer area has been flooded and many dirt roads in the area are still underwater. The Pioneer Volunteer Fire Department has water and ice, and even showers available at the fire station for area residents.