RIVIERA BEACH, Fla. – The price of paradise is becoming too steep for some residents of A Garden Walk mobile home park, a community ravaged three times in about a year by tornadoes (search) and hurricanes.
Twisters flattened more than 40 homes and damaged 50 others in August 2003. Then, just as some residents were settling into new homes, the 2004 hurricane season arrived, bringing Hurricane Frances (search) on Sept. 4 and Jeanne on Saturday, leaving virtually nothing unscathed.
"If another one comes through, we're going to be completely plowed. My home is simply not going to make it," said Amy Braun, who lives in a mobile home with her 12-year-old son.
The tornadoes and Hurricane Frances largely spared Braun's home, causing only dents from hail and flying debris. But Jeanne whacked harder, smashing a window, buckling the roof and twisting a metal awning into pieces.
But even as she begins another search for food, water and ice -- and looks ahead to three weeks or more without power -- Braun said she was among the lucky ones at the mobile home park north of West Palm Beach (search).
"They lost theirs in the last one," she says, pointing to a neighbor whose home was open to the rainy skies. "That one over there is mangled. So many are smashed up."
People in many parts of Florida shared park residents' sense of deja vu disappointment.
Jeanne damaged the roof and porch of a home belonging to Charles Clark, 74, in Barefoot Bay, a sprawling mobile home community about 80 miles north of Riviera Beach. Three weeks earlier, Frances blew away his carport.
"I had a claim in before but they never paid off on the first one," Clark said.
Reflecting on the one-two punch, he said, "I'm getting older. I don't know if I can put up with much more."
Frances wiped out many homes at A Garden Walk, practically bulldozing some into piles of crunched furniture and walls. Jeanne's hit only adds devastation to the mess; many homes had been patched up with tarps and boards that now litter the park.
Jack Fagan was already picking up his yard Sunday morning, collecting pieces of roofs, awnings and a few trash cans that Jeanne flung through the air. His landscaping recently won a community award. He says he's got a reputation to uphold.
"It's an old one, but she's still standing," he said proudly of his home, just a few hundred feet from two that were condemned after Frances. "I just look around and I can't believe it. And not even a leak here."
Fagan watched from a window last year as the tornadoes sent refrigerators and mattresses spiraling through the air. He evacuated for Frances and Jeanne and will leave again if there's another storm. But he and his wife, Mies, say they will always come back.
"We're still alive and that's the main thing," Mies Fagan said.
Despite the intensity of the storms, no one in the park has been killed. Those who lost their homes have found new places to stay.
"We've been lucky at our place -- not so much at all the others," said Roger Lebel, whose carport was battered by Jeanne. "But we've taken the hit long enough so maybe it will go somewhere else next time."