Florida evacuees return to Hurricane Ian aftermath

Florida evacuees return to Hurricane Ian aftermath
Published: Oct. 1, 2022 at 5:27 PM EDT|Updated: Oct. 1, 2022 at 8:12 PM EDT
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TIFTON, Ga. (WALB) - Many Florida residents who evacuated to Georgia when Hurricane Ian approached are headed back home now.

Most of those Floridians evacuated as early as Tuesday and stayed in hotels across South Georgia only to sit and watch the devastation happening back at their homes.

“It was scary. I think sitting through it was bad,” Sharon, a Florida evacuee, said.

She was there to see Hurricane Ian slam through Florida Wednesday afternoon. She then decided to travel up North Friday for a trip—leaving behind a home without electricity and water.

Sharon is from Punta Gorda, Florida.
Sharon is from Punta Gorda, Florida.(WALB)

“We had like a lot of tree damage, gutter damage, roof damage but the flood didn’t come through, so we got lucky. But the aftermath when you go out and see the devastation, that’s awful,” Sharon said.

Other evacuees said they also were lucky to have something to go back home to as others didn’t.

“It’s Florida, people say ‘yeah we get used to it, we get them all the time but you never get used to stuff like this. It’s an unfortunate event that happens a lot,” said Matt Storch, another Florida Evacuee.

Even with a bit of luck, Storch said he’s more than ready to get back to what the Sunshine state was before Ian struck.

Matt said he's lucky to go home to a standing home.
Matt said he's lucky to go home to a standing home.(WALB)

“It’s sad to see. And you know just clean up and hope to get the power back on and try to get life to somewhat normal,” he said.

To another Florida evacuee’s knowledge right now, most of his concerns are a destroyed carport.

“I still really don’t know what I’m going to run into or what I’m going to see,” George Frankel, from Sarasota Florida, said.

But he said the first thing he’ll do when he gets back to Sarasota Florida is help others.

Sarasota, Florida is also filled with flood waters.
Sarasota, Florida is also filled with flood waters.(WALB)

“I work with an awful lot of commercial fishermen up and down the coast and I’m concerned about their equipment and their livelihood as well as their homes,” he said.

The damage from Hurricane Ian is estimated to be anywhere from $60-$100 billion but with cleanup efforts currently underway, that number could increase.