Minnesota natives face Hurricane Ian

Published: Sep. 28, 2022 at 6:30 PM CDT
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FLORIDA (KTTC) – Hurricane Ian is rocking Southwest Florida, causing major flooding and damage.

But residents from all around the state, including some with Rochester ties, are seeing the storm’s impact.

Kendra Oestreich lives in Apollo Beach, Florida which is about 15 miles south of Tampa Bay. She grew up in Rochester.

“You can see the winds and rains really picking up, that’s as we’re getting hit by the outer bands of Hurricane Ian. It started early this morning where we’ve been seeing really the winds picking up. The worst of it will be this afternoon into tonight into overnight as it passes us by,” she said.

Jacob Goetz lives in Plantation, Florida which is west of Fort Lauderdale. He graduated from Rochester Schools.

“Last night there were some howling winds making a lot of noise in our breeze way, a lot of rain yesterday. Today, it was a lot of on and off rain,” he said.

These Floridians grew up in Minnesota and have had to learn how to prepare for a hurricane since moving down South.

“It’s kind of like preparing for winter there. You just prepare for what could be a lengthy period of time when you don’t know if a hurricane is going to happen,” Oestreich said.

“Make sure your cars are all filled up with gas, getting bottled water in case the power goes out or you lose water,” Goetz said.

They’re leaning on their native Florida neighbors who have dealt with hurricanes their whole lives.

“You just listen to the people around you. Many native Floridians will help you get through it, tell you what to do, how to prepare,” Oestreich said.

Although they aren’t seeing the worst of the damage, they’re staying put, never being sure when the storm could take a turn.

“There’s a lot of anxiety that comes with prep for this thing even though my area wasn’t supposed to be hit, and we knew that far out, but there was always a chance,” Goetz said.

“We can hope that we’re going to be okay, but we know that other people are dealing with much worse conditions. Getting ready to weather the eye of the hurricane,” Oestreich said.

With family and friends back in Minnesota, they want to remind us hurricanes are a lot different than the types of storms we see here.

“I hope that Minnesotans know that although there’s parts of this that are just like a traditional Midwestern summer storm, there’s a lot of effects that will hit a lot of people for a long time here,” Oestreich said.

Now both Oestreich and Goetz say they are safe and have minimal damage to their homes, but they are staying put to wait out the rain and high winds that could still last for the next few days.