Hurricane Ian: Canadians in Florida are cowering

Summer Willett stocked up on food, water and other basic supplies as she prepared to weather Hurricane Ian at her husband’s home in Florida.

The Cornwall, Ont., woman traveled south recently to spend a few months with family in Palm Beach, Fla., but her visit took an unexpected turn when the storm made landfall ashore. Florida’s west coast on Wednesday, moving across the state.

The 26-year-old went out to pick up his belongings on Wednesday to prepare for the big storm.

“We’re buying water and canned food, flashlights and things like that,” she said in a phone interview.

“We’ll do our best to stay indoors and stay safe…. But we’re not leaving right now. We’ll stay indoors until the storm passes.”

A major Category 4 storm hit Florida’s southwest coast on Wednesday with high winds and rain after strengthening into a hurricane that could push 3.6 to 5.5 meters of water across more than 400 kilometers of the west coast. of Florida.

Isolated tornadoes rotate the storm before making landfall. A tornado damaged small planes and a hangar at North Perry Airport, west of Hollywood along the Atlantic coast.

Willett said she and her family have seen extreme weather.

“We have wind, rain, thunderstorms, tornadoes,” she said. “The lights are already flashing. We haven’t lost the power yet.”

Willett said she was out in her car with his wife on Tuesday night when they received an emergency call to take shelter because of a tornado making landfall in the area.

“I was really shaking, so my wife really helped calm me down because it was new to me and I was obviously uncomfortable. I was panicking,” she said. “It was very scary. Honestly, it was overwhelming.”

The vast majority of Canadian snowbirds have yet to migrate to Florida for the winter, said Evan Rachkovsky, director of research and communications for the Canadian Snowbird Association.

“Usually, they leave Canada and go to Florida in November,” he said in an interview. “Most of our members have yet to leave.”

Members of the national nonprofit advocacy group primarily asked about the right steps to take in the event the hurricane damaged their Florida property, Rachkovsky said.

“Their questions revolved around the lines: What do I do if there’s damage to my property? How do I rate it? Should I go down there? When should I get down there?” he say.

“Tips: visit your property only when it feels safe to do so when you have permission from local officials down there.”

He said snowbirds should keep detailed logs of all their interactions with insurance providers and independent adjusters in the event they claim insurance and should document any urgent repairs. necessary to prevent any subsequent damage.

More than a million homes and businesses in Florida were without power Wednesday night. Florida Power and Light warned those on Ian’s path to strain during the days without electricity.

– with files from the Associated Press.

This report by the Canadian Press was first published on September 29, 2022.

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