Evacuating from Hurricane Ian

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Bill and Sally Israel have lived in their St. Petersburg home for over 50 years. Just outside of Tampa, St. Petersburg had mandatory evacuations as Hurricane Ian approached Florida on Tuesday. 

“The issue is that all the early forecasts had this hurricane headed straight into us with as high as ten feet above sea level. We live from open bay water and our house is seven feet above sea level, which would have our house with three feet of water indoors,” said Bill. “We decided to put everything valuable on tables and coffee beds and go east as that looked like the least unattractive of the options.”

The Israels chose to evacuate to Orlando instead of risking the heavy traffic of thousands heading north. 

“We went to New Orleans last time. It took us 12 to 24 hours to get there. It was moving 15 miles an hour,” said Bill. “And actually, it took us over 4 hours to get to Orlando, which is normally a 90 minute ride.”

As long as there is power in St. Petersburg, the Israels plan on returning to their home on Friday. Once they do, there is a lot of work to be done. 

“We have to check the electricity and see if it did go off and how long it was off to know if you have to throw away everything,” said Sally. 

“We’ll go home and we’ll start taking down everything we put up in high places and everything we’ve put in plastic bags to keep it dry,” said Bill. I also collect ukuleles and have 35, 40 string instruments in the house. And we do genealogy. We have boxes and crazy records and documents and pictures and everything, which we were trying to get them boxed up in high places and wrapped in plastic bags and things to keep the course from getting worse. So we had to do all that from the get go.”