While some Floridians just left too late to escape the raging winds of Hurricane Irma and others have nowhere to go, there are a few people who chose to stay and face the music and rising waters.
After the Hurricane Irma 5 a.m. advisory on Sunday, September 10, the decision to stay looks even riskier. According to the Naples News, Irma will hit Florida with 130 mph wind as an enormous Category 4 hurricane.
According to the Journal, even in the vulnerable Florida Keys, there were residents who were too stubborn to heed the hurricane warnings. Neither the mandatory evacuation order nor the pleas of firefighters going door to door with grim reminders of Hurricane Irma’s enormous power were enough to budge Carol Walterson Stroud’s husband, Tim, from his Key West home.
Stroud said she didn’t initially think the mega-hurricane would make a direct hit on the Florida Keys, so she was fine with hunkering down. After all, it’s not the first hurricane the couple has weathered, but now the grandmother is afraid it could be their last.
She says Tim is “a hard-headed conch” who refused to leave, and once Carol realized Irma was heading their way, she was too terrified to drive alone with the couple’s granddaughter. Now, it’s too late to leave, but officials say that it’s also too late to call for help. Florida Keys residents who are riding out the hurricane are on their own.
Update: Hurricane Irma made landfall at Cudjoe Key at 9:10 a.m, and according to ABC News, Carol Stroud was last heard from at 5:30 a.m. when she sent a text message updating their situation.
“We are good so far. It’s blowing hard.”
Back in a nearly deserted Miami, Robert Raven Kraft is carrying on as if nothing is happening. The 66-year-old runs every morning on Miami’s South Beach, and lashing rain and wind from the impending hurricane weren’t going to get in his way Saturday morning.
If he misses his run on Sunday morning after Irma has blown her way to the Florida mainland, it will be the first day since 1975 that he isn’t on the beach in the morning.
Since the hurricane has veered to the west after an initial forecast that it would head straight up the spine of Florida and devastate Miami, many residents on the west side of the state decided they didn’t have time to make it out.
The Telegraph wrote that Tampa condo dweller Carl Roberts believes he will be safe in his 17th-floor unit, but he’s laid in a supply of beer, rum, and Chinese food to see him through the worst of the storm. Roberts is the only person left in his building and will take shelter from Hurricane Irma in the solid concrete stairwell if he has to.
Further south in Fort Myers, Ed Brown and his friend Tim Benevente were caught unprepared when Irma changed course. USA Today wrote that in the last desperate hours before the hurricane arrives in full force, the friends are trying to pile up sandbags where they’re hunkering down to wait for a storm surge of up to 12 feet.
Brown said he’s always been a gambler and this just one more roll of the dice. He said that if worst comes to worst, he’ll ride out the hurricane in his small boat or even a cooler to float on top of the flood.
[Featured Image by Wilfredo Lee/AP Images]