Lee’s Summit couple stranded in Florida during Hurricane Ian


FORT MYERS, Fla. (KCTV) – A Lee’s Summit couple on vacation on an island off Fort Myers, Florida, is stranded there as Hurricane Ian ravages the state with catastrophic storm surges.

Cheryl Berberich said her and her husband’s flight home was canceled, so the couple decided to ride out the storm in Florida.

“We didn’t really know about the hurricane headed our way until probably Saturday,” said Berberich. “And I think the consensus here is that a lot of times it is overhyped, that we should be OK, and so we decided to stay here. Our flight home got canceled so we decided to ride it out right here. Right now I’m not thinking that was a great idea.”

Hurricane Ian’s most damaging winds started hitting Florida’s southwest coast Wednesday, after the storm strengthened to the threshold of a Category 5, the most dangerous hurricane status. According to the National Hurricane Center, Hurricane Ian has top winds of 155 mph.

On Tuesday, the storm brought down the electrical grid in Cuba after thrashing the western portion of the nation. Berberich said a lengthy beach area near their hotel has vanished with water from the storm pushing up against the building.

“In the front our parking lot is flooded,” said Berberich. “We’ve actually already seen a car float by.”

Amidst the storm surge, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis warned residents to take cover.

“This is going to be a nasty, nasty day, two days,” said DeSantis. “It’s going to get a lot worse very quickly, so please hunker down.”

Power has gone out in the couple’s building Wednesday morning. The couple said they are just waiting for the worst to pass before figuring out how they can return home.

“This is the first time and hopefully the last that I’ll have to experience anything like this,” Berberich said. “At first I was talking to some of the neighbors — I thought ‘this isn’t gonna be that bad,’ and now I just wish I was home.”

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