(WTNH) – Hurricane Ian has officially made landfall in Florida, and many Connecticut residents are worried about friends and family living along Florida’s west coast.
News 8 spoke to several people on Wednesday who used to live in Connecticut, but now call Florida home, as the “extremely dangerous” hurricane made landfall.
As Ian made landfall, former Connecticut residents, who are now full-time Florida residents, shared how they prepared for the storm.
Griffin Pierson, a former WTNH employee, just moved from Connecticut to Fort Meyers three months ago. He said he spent eight hours putting up storm shutters to protect his new home. Fort Meyers is one of the areas hardest hit.
“Not the first hurricane I’ve ever been through,” Pierson said. “I worked in new for four years, so we were kind of prepared.”
Preparation is key when dealing with a hurricane of this size and strength. Just north, in Tampa, Jon Fields, a former Wethersfield resident discussed waiting for much-needed supplies.
“Just yesterday morning, I decided to get some sandbags,” Fields said. “That took about four hours in line. I was able to get a few, just in case for extra caution.”
Gas is also hard to come by, according to residents. News 8 was told many gas stations are empty along the coast.
“In a five-mile radius around where we’re staying, all the gas stations are out of gas, so that’s a little unnerving,” said Tammie Kelsey.
Tammie Kelsey had to evacuate her Tampa home near the water that she just moved into. She is now staying at a hotel in Orlando with her family.
“We truly don’t know in what condition the house will be in after this storm passes, but our lives are more important,” Kelsey said.
Further south in Venice, News 8 spoke to former Enfield resident, Pattie Dynia.
“The winds are getting worse,” she said. “I have metal shutters on my house, so every window is covered. I can’t see a thing actually.”
Wendy who moved from Connecticut to Fort Meyers before hurricane Irma hit in 2017 said Irma is nothing compared to what she sees now with Ian as it made landfall in her backyard.
She said Fort Meyers residents are seeing things falling off the walls and furniture floating away.
Wendy said this is just the beginning of the storm as she said the storm surge is expected to create massive flooding overnight possibly reaching 12 to 15 feet.
A couple of towns down in Naples Fire Department, crews had to evacuate with water around their waists. Wendy knows if the water does surge 15 feet or higher, clogs the storm drains and backs up water through the streets, she will have to get out on her own.
“We do have a little bit of flooding in the streets now, once it’s at the front door there’s not much you can do, just try to prepare yourself mentally,” said Wendy.
As Hurricane Ian continues to church, many are prepared for the worst and hoping for the best.
For information on how to reach a loved one impacted by the hurricane, click here.