Hidden Hurricane Damage

Storm Eta 18 Months After: The Devastating Effects


Although tropical storm Eta wasn’t hurricane strength when it crashed through Florida in November 2020, the damage it left in its wake was simply devastating.

You’ll recall the stats from headlines 18 months ago: 70mph winds, waves crashing onto the Howard Frankland bridge, the thousands of homes flooded, and the millions of dollars of damage. 

The human threat was also serious: a man was electrocuted and killed as he waded through his ankle-deep flooded laundry room in Bradenton Beach. At least 33 people were rescued in Pinellas.

For us, it’s the personal stories that stay with us long after the media has moved on. We look at two families whose homes were destroyed by storm Eta in 2020.

Destroyed homes, destroyed lives

Eric Cabrera is a retired New York Corrections Officer. He told The Tampa Bay Times of the devastating impact the storm had on the home that he shared with his wife and two young daughters.

More than a year since the floodwater retreated, Eric battles a lawsuit with his insurance company. The city told the family that their home is so badly damaged that they may have to tear it down and rebuild it. Black mold has taken hold. The drywall has crumbled. Furniture, flooring, and possessions are destroyed. 

Financial pressure mounts for the Cabrera family as they pay both their mortgage and rent. When his children ask when they’ll be going home, Eric says “Daddy’s trying. We have to fight.”

Victoria Glovitch and fiancé Chris Smith had just moved to Madeira Beach, Florida, when storm Eta struck, a couple of inches of floodwater invading their home. Their insurer recommended a restoration company that cut drywall up to 4 feet and brought in fans. The work was below par and 8 months later, a test revealed wet studs, and mold everywhere.

With many of their possessions ruined, the rest in boxes, the couple and their dog moved from rentals to hotels, trying to keep their fitness business afloat. 

“Your safety, your health, your shelter, everything was taken away,” Glovitch told The Tampa Bay Times. “No one can pay for all the mental stress.”

The floodwater effect

These terrible stories illustrate how storm Eta floodwater destroyed everything it touched: flooring, electronics, cars, and furniture. It also pollutes a home as it carries sewage and garbage. Then it led to the growth of mold in many homes. The long-term effects are countless.

So, how much floodwater is a devastating amount? Well, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency Flood Calculator, just 3 inches can cause $11,790 in a typical 1,000 square foot home. That rises to $29,360 in 1ft of floodwater. 

3ft of floodwater is classed as life-threatening – that’s floodwater up to the waist of an adult. 

We can help

Make no mistake: water damage from a storm or hurricane is a nightmare you wish you could wake up from. As experienced attorneys in flood damage insurance claims, we’ve seen people in desperate situations. Their homes are destroyed, and they battle insurance companies for what they are entitled to. However, instead of settling, insurance companies typically use these three brick walls: delay, denial, and underpayment.

Jenkins Law PL doesn’t roll over, we fight. Our insurance claim lawyer in Florida knows how to get you the maximum on your insurance claim to get your family back in their homes. Call us today: What could be more important?