Iowans riding out storm across Florida - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Iowans riding out storm across Florida

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As Hurricane Irma makes landfall, some Iowans are finding themselves forced to ride out the storm.

KWWL colleague and Dubuque account manager Trish Kennedy has been updating her loved ones over the past 48 hours. Kennedy traveled to Sarasota, Florida to visit her daughter this past week. 

We first spoke with Kennedy on Friday, when her family had decided to ride out the storm. They tried to get out of Sarasota by driving north but the highways were packed, and gas stations ran out of fuel.

As Irma began to batter down, Kennedy and her family were forced to evacuate and have taken shelter in another area of Sarasota.

"We're in a very secure place we feel a lot better than our daughter's home," said Kennedy. 

Her husband, daughter, son-in-law and their two kids have taken shelter in a Sarasota business that is hurricane proof. Kennedy shares they are staying in the makeshift shelter along with fifty other people seeking cover. 

"We have two coolers full of food and water-mostly water," said Kennedy."

The area they are staying in is on higher ground. However, Kennedy says a quick look outside shows it is still raining very hard and winds are proving very strong. The sight of Irma farther down south is keeping them on guard.

"A boat in case we need to escape," said Kennedy. 

Just up a little ways, Lenna Curry from Independence and her boyfriend Andrew Snyder from Cedar Falls were forced to leave their home in Clearwater. Before they left, they stacked their furniture to prepare for potential flooding. The couple is now staying with friends in Largo.

"We got the good news that it's down to a Cat 2, so it'll probably be a Cat 1 when it hits us," said Curry. 

In the meantime, they're finding ways to pass time, until the storm passes through. 

"We're waiting without power which sucks but I think we're all feeling a lot better than we were yesterday," said Curry. 

Curry, like many in Florida, is riding the roller coaster of uncertainty as Irma rolls through.

Brian Dawson from Waterloo was forced to evacuate his home in Islamorada along the Florida Keys. Now, he's staying near Lake Fairview in Orlando

"They got hit hard," said Dawson. "A lot of of buildings are down, a lot of trees are down, a lot of damage." 

Dawson, who lives on his sailboat in Islamorada says his boss tells him his boat has weathered the storm.

For these Iowans, it could still be hours of waiting out the storm. 

"We're doing good, we're strong, we're going to get through this," said Kennedy.  "Tell my KWWL family I'll be back next week."

Kennedy hopes her family will be able to leave their shelter late Monday. She says they have flight booked to fly home to Iowa on Friday, but that's all to be determined if flights are canceled. 

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