A former Somerset resident and his wife interrupted an in-progress cruise to Alaska late last week and flew back home to Cocoa, Florida when monstrous Hurricane Dorian was on a track to devastate Florida's East Coast.
Steve (Doug) and Kelly Mardis, son and daughter-in-law of Bill and Linda Mardis, Somerset, felt it necessary to cut their vacation short to protect their home and Merritt Island Pancake House, the restaurant they own and operate in Merritt Island, Florida.
However, Dorian, once a powerful Category 5 storm with winds of 185 mph and gusts to 210 mph, lost some of its punch to upper wind shear and mostly stayed off the Florida coast. The hurricane devastated the Bahamas.
Doug, standing on his front lawn Wednesday morning and talking with the Commonwealth Journal, said there maybe has been an inch to an inch and a half of rain at their home in Cocoa, He said nearby roads which often flood " ... are not flooded." As for current weather conditions, he said it was cloudy " ... and the clouds are moving fast." He guessed the highest wind gust have been 40-50 mph at his house.
Asked to e-mail a photograph to use with this story, Doug replied: "There's nothing to photograph ... there's no damage around here."
"They recorded a wind gust of 70 mph at Kennedy Space Center," Doug said. He and Kelly live about seven miles from the space center. Their home is about 35 miles east of Orlando, some 300 yards from an intracoastal waterway and five miles from the ocean.
Doug and Kelly never lost electricity at their home in Cocoa but power is still out at their restaurant on Merritt Island. "With as many repair crews as they have down here, I'd be surprised if the power is not restored by tomorrow (Thursday)," Doug said. "They plan to re-open the restaurant Thursday if the power is back on.
It's not all good news. "Counting expenses and lost sales, I figure we've lost about $25,000," he grimaced. That doesn't count the messed up vacation.
Doug is a graduate of Pulaski County High School and was in retail management, including Best Buy, for many years. Earlier this year he left the retail business for full-time management of their Merritt Island restaurant. Kelly, a registered nurse, remains manager of the Cardiology Unit at Rockledge (Fla.) Regional Medical Center. A native of Titusville, Fla., Kelly was a finalist on NBC's "The Biggest Loser."