True Talk: First-hand experience with Hurricane Ian

Hurricane Ian destruction

We talked with our cohost, Samar Jarrah. This week we talked about Hurricane Ian and what she went through during the storm.

The beginning days before the storm

Samar lives in Port Charlotte, and she did not evacuate during Hurricane Ian. The reason she did not leave was that the news talked about the hurricane hitting Tampa. On Monday night, Tampa went into a state of emergency. Because of this, she asked her family to come to Port Charlotte.

The weather channel really overplays how bad it will hit the area, and it always talks about the things to get when preparing for hurricanes. These things include batteries, canned goods, water, and flashlights; when she went to the store there were no supplies she could purchase. The only thing she could find was a charger for the flashlight she had. She already had things like canned food, and water because, at the beginning of the hurricane season, it is always advertised to collect these types of items to be prepared.

During the storm

When it was reported that Hurricane Ian was shifting, it was too late for Samar to evacuate the area. She hunkered down and never thought it was going to come her way. The worst part was Tuesday, the weather was nice, and it showed no sign of the hurricane. She said you see that the weather is nice now and during this, you think about wanting to get through the whole hurricane weather and be done with it.

Then Wednesday came, and her friend came to be with her for shelter and her brother came as well. It is 10 AM and 11 AM and then 12PM and all she could think about was JUST COME ALREADY. On air, she played audio of the storm and talks about how she could see the palm trees going down in one direction. In the audio, you can hear the high winds coming through, and it felt like you were there with her. The wind sounds like a train that is coming towards you, but it never reaches the station, this lasted for 7 hours. When you see the trees moving, all you can think about is this is too much force in one direction and soon you’re thinking this could be my house next instead of just the trees. As this is happening, her electricity is out as well. After a few minutes she comes back to the window, and she feels the pressure, her head starts to hurt then her ears and nose start to feel it as well because physically the pressure is lower now.

Thoughts when the storm is happening

They were waiting for the eye to pass over. When you are in the middle of a storm, it can be scary because you can hear everything outside and the darkness surrounds you. All she was thinking was what if we lose the roof, or the door comes off its hinges. All the sudden the door is opening, and she starts screaming. When the door starts opening like that and comes off then the pressure is going to come into the house and start lifting it. The 5 sandbags, the tarp, and the dumbbells were not enough to keep the door on. She and her husband are running to get all these things, as her guests try to hold the door. As the door is coming off, water starts to enter their house. It was like she was under attack, and they were stopping the army from coming through.

In the middle of all this her husband says he’s going to take a nap because he wanted the storm to pass. The winds stopped around 9:30 at night, and there was a lot of rain. The rain did not get to the level of the house. She teared up as she opened her door the next morning as she saw the level of destruction, and the shrubs and palm trees being torn up. She was upset because she was trying to control herself for 7 hours during this storm as she was trying to make everyone comfortable. There is a lot of emotions you go through during a storm.

Listen to the full show here:

These videos from Samar show what Hurricane Ian was like firsthand:

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