Ashley Waters (center), flanked by her children Jayden (left) and Julia, sits in front of their flooded home as water continues to rise a day after Hurricane Irma hit the region. The family stayed at their home during the storm and didn’t evacuate.
Photographer: Philip Montgomery for Bloomberg Businessweek
The hurricane in pictures. Documented by Philip Montgomery.
“We were meant to stay,” Ashley Waters says of her family’s decision not to evacuate their Bonita Springs, Fla., home as Hurricane Irma approached on Sept. 10. The family—Waters and her children, Jayden and Julia, along with her partner, Darby Chew—couldn’t afford to leave, she says. In the midst of the storm, as the power flicked on and off and explosions could be heard outside, a neighbor came in search of shelter. The roof of his house collapsed when a tree from Waters’s backyard fell on it. “I don’t know what would have happened to that man if we’d left,” she says. The next day, the water continued to rise. Waters had expected inches of it, not feet. Like other Florida residents whose homes were damaged, she’s now focusing on salvaging what she can and finding another place to live.