A CORK family holidaying in Florida are bracing themselves for Hurricane Ian as one of the most harrowing storms to threaten the US in years continues its rampage.
It comes after millions in Cuba were left without power as a result of the storm.
Fears of life-threatening storm surges have now spread to Florida as residents batten down the hatches to mitigate devastation. The centre of the storm was due to hit the west coast of Florida today.
Florida, including Orlando and the surrounding areas, are said to be at risk of a category 1 storm, though it remains unclear where the storm will make landfall.
The hurricane was just shy of the Category 5 threshold today, with maximum sustained winds of 155 miles per hour. This was according to the most recent update from the National Hurricane Centre.
Millions of residents are under evacuation orders or advisories in parts of coastal Florida.
Victoria Piper from Crosshaven, who is holidaying with her parents in Orlando said she has already met a number of evacuees.
“I spoke to people arriving with suitcases and asked them if they were just starting their holidays. They explained that they were living on the coast and had to be evacuated from their homes.”
She described the moment they were warned of the impending storms.
“It was very bizarre”, she explained.
“We were in a restaurant when all of a sudden everyone’s phone went off at the same time. It wasn’t just your standard text message alert and sounded more like a fire alarm.
"It must be the way they alert people here but the sounds of everyone’s phone going off at the same time was quite bizarre.
"The message advised people to stock up on supplies and included information on how to stay safe.”
Victoria never expected their holiday plans to be scuppered by a hurricane."
“All the theme parks have been closed including Sea World and Disney World. Those places don’t close unless it’s absolutely necessary which made us realise how serious the situation was. The hurricane is moving closer but it should be a lot weaker by the time it reaches us. Hotels are the safest places so all we can do is batten down the hatches.”