Louisville native prepares to ride out Hurricane Ian in Florida home

A Louisville native, Kehoe has lived in Florida for 11 years and has been through multiple storms.
Published: Sep. 27, 2022 at 4:55 PM EDT

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Standing 12 feet off the ground, Barbara Kehoe’s Florida home is built to withstand hurricane winds and floods.

She is planning on staying for now, but facing Hurricane Ian, a possible Category 3 storm, uncertainty rules the day.

”If it intensifies to 4, and we know we’re going to get a hit, then will have to rethink that,” Kehoe said. “And perhaps move a little bit inland to some friends who live on a little bit higher ground, or to one of the evacuation centers.”

A Louisville native, Kehoe has lived in Florida for 11 years and has been through multiple storms.

Now in the town of Gulfport, west of St. Petersburg, she is living in a mandatory evacuation zone. That means if there is trouble, help is not guaranteed.

”The town is emptying out,” Kehoe said. “There are some regulars that are staying. But for the most part, lots of empty driveways, boarding of some of the buildings in our little Gulfport town, the buildings and the restaurants. Hurricane shutters up, sandbagging. So, it looks like people are trying to prepare.”

Watching from a safe distance, evacuating might seem like an obvious choice. But just like when staying put, there are risks with leaving. It is never an easy decision because you never know what you will be returning to.

”When we have evacuated in the past, it’s taking some time to get back to our house,” Kehoe said. “Due to debris, due to lack of electricity, the gas stations don’t have electricity, so you can’t get gas. So, depending on how far away you go, that weighs into it.”