Outside the window of Susan Flack’s dark condo in Naples, Florida, on Wednesday, trees bent in the wind and a portable toilet floated on the rising floodwaters.
Flack, one of thousands who decided to flout official evacuation orders and flee Hurricane Ian, wasn’t worried about his safety. Crouching on the second floor of her building, where the power had been off all day and the atrium was filled with several feet of water, she took videos of the site outside.
“Being hysterical is not going to help,” the retired lawyer said in a telephone interview.
Ian plowed off Florida’s Gulf Coast with catastrophic force Wednesday, lashing the state with howling winds, torrential rain and a treacherous wave of ocean surf that made it one of the most powerful storms on record. to reach the United States.
About 2.5 million coastal residents and others in danger zones around Tampa, Ft. Myers and nearby communities were ordered or encouraged to evacuate before the massive storm. But many did not, with some simply swearing to ride it and others unable to leave for financial or other reasons.
In Sarasota County, officials warned that emergency vehicles would not respond to calls for help until it was safe to be on the road. Those who were unable to leave until Wednesday afternoon, officials said, needed to take shelter there.
“Most people heeded the warnings to do evacuations in these very sensitive places, but not everyone could have done so,” said Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.
Inside her home in St Petersburg on Wednesday, Vanessa Vazquez, 50, soothed the four cats she had stayed behind to tend. Power flickered as the storm roared overhead. But the software engineer did not regret his decision.
“I still don’t want to go,” she said.
In Venice, Doug Toe walked through the rain Wednesday morning to see how a friend’s house was weathering the storm. Toe admitted to never having experienced a storm of this magnitude, but was unfazed by the prospects of the storm ravaging his neighborhood.
“I’m staying vigilant, but trying not to worry,” he said.
Nearby, residents of an assisted-living facility also decided to ride out the storm in a new building designed to withstand the most severe hurricanes.
Flack said she had traveled to her Naples condo from her home in Washington, DC to see her 16-year-old grandson compete in a baseball tournament.
The hurricane swamped the tournament plans. But she decided not to leave, in part because the storm was not initially prepared to hit Naples and also because she hoped her son’s family would still come down for a visit after the hurricane hit.
On Wednesday, the road below looked like a river. Grass furniture and a neighbor’s car floated by. Flack was sure his car had been flooded too.
“I’m not scared,” she said. “But I’m annoyed with myself for not messing with my car.”
Source: CNN Brasil