Hawaii residents in Florida hunker down as Ian barrels over Sunshine State

“It’s been hours and hours and hours of rain and crazy wind.”
Published: Sep. 28, 2022 at 4:20 PM HST|Updated: Sep. 28, 2022 at 7:28 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Tuffy Nicholas splits time between Hawaii and Florida.

And when Hurricane Ian made landfall in the Sunshine State on Wednesday, he just happened to be in Sarasota. He hunkered down about 30 miles north of where Ian’s eye passed.

The good news: He didn’t lose power.

The bad news: Most of his neighbors did.

“I’m from Florida originally and I’ve been through storms before, even Hurricane Andrew, this is worse,” Nicholas said. “I’ve never been through anything like this before. It’s all day.

“It’s been hours and hours and hours of rain and crazy wind.”

About two-hours northeast, Hilo resident Christopher Gali and his family planned for a Disney World vacation.

But everything is now on hold.

“We’re not going anywhere and we’re just gonna hunker the storm down here at the Airbnb,” Gali said.

“We’re just gonna see how it goes and hopefully, we can get through this.”

Meanwhile, a little relief from the islands is on the way.

Six volunteers from the American Red Cross Pacific region are on standby to leave for Florida as soon as its safe to fly. One from Hawaii is already on the ground in Florida aiding some of the 2 million people who have evacuated.

“She is working as a shelter associate,” said Matthew Wells, regional communications manager for the American Red Cross Pacific Islands Region. “She’s been working on building up what is going to be a long sheltering process; 13,000 people showed up at shelters throughout the path of the storm last night alone.”

Each volunteer deployment lasts about two weeks, but the Red Cross is well aware help will be needed for much longer. “We’re looking at something that isn’t going to be just a quick response and then everything’s fine again,” Wells explained. “We need to treat this very seriously and look at this very realistically.”