YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Floridians are beginning to feel the impact of Hurricane Matthew’s massive Category 4 blow.
WKBN 27 First News Reporter Molly Reed knows the power of these storms firsthand. She lived through the 2004 hurricanes that hit Florida by evacuating from her hometown of Satellite Beach, which is located just south of Cocoa Beach on a barrier island.
Her friends and family are still in Florida, preparing for the hurricane to make landfall on the Space Coast in Brevard County.
“With a forecast of that eyewall going on that barrier island, neither one of us were expecting to have a home to go back to,” said journalist Rob Landers. “My house is the same house I brought my daughter home to when she was born.”
While most residents are getting out of the area, journalists like Ron and Molly’s dad, Matt Reed, are staying put.
“There’s about 90,000 people in this county that needed to move from pretty densely-populated neighborhoods on a thin barrier island to go somewhere,” Matt said.
To prepare for the storm, people need things like crank radios, candles, food and, if possible, a generator. Window shutters can protect windows and sand bags will soak up any water, preventing it from leaking into homes.
It can be very stressful to find safety.
“People are very anxious but they’re, hopefully, anxious in places that are safer because of the lessons learned in the past,” Matt said.
The 2004 hurricanes gave Florida some practice.
This time, Governor Rick Scott took zero chances, warning of the dangers if residents don’t follow safety measures and evacuate.
Social media is also important this time around. Twelve years ago, all of the information was sent through TVs and radios. Now people can share videos, photos and updates instantly.
Social media has already helped in keeping up with the storm’s path and informing people when stores run out of supplies.
“I don’t have water, where can I get water? Oh, you can get water at this CVS or you can get water at this Windixie,” Rob said.
It then becomes a waiting game, taking shelter from the storm’s rain, lightning, tornadoes and water spouts. When it calms down, people go back home to see if their house is still standing. If it is, they help those around them who lost homes.
“They’re my friends and neighbors. I know them, I know their families and kids, and I know how much they love their homes. I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else,” Matt said. “Once I know my family’s safe, I’ll help them somehow with whatever they need.”
Other areas along the Atlantic coast, including South Carolina and Georgia, are also in Hurricane Matthew’s path. Millions have been told to evacuate.