LAKE MARY, FLORIDA — (WIVB) — A Western New York native will ride out Hurricane Irma in her Florida home, even though she and her family were prepared to evacuate and had been rounding up supplies several days ago.
Michelle Valiquette Wilson, whose parents live in Silver Creek, says the massive migration of evacuees northward in Florida has left her Central Florida area with clogged roads and very little gasoline. They were concerned about getting stranded on the highway where traffic has ground to a stop. So she, her husband, Eric, and son, Aidan have decided to stay in their home and hope for the best.
By the time the evacuation order came, Michelle says, “there was limited or absolutely no gas for us to get out and the roads were basically a parking lot.”
Their home was built after the building codes changed because of previous hurricanes in Florida. It is supposed to withstand hurricane force winds.
“We’re going to stay inside the inner rooms and hope the house can withstand the winds.Our biggest concern would be anything coming through the windows.”
Michelle, a former News 4 staffer, grew up with snowstorms here and, similar to Buffalo before a blizzard, the shelves are sold out of many items. There’s no bottled water, meat is gone in stores, so is charcoal for cooking without power. And, it’s tough to get cash.
“And the concern is, obviously if places lose power, there’s no way to run credit cards. There’s no way to get checks cashed.”
Michelle’s husband Eric is a meteorologist who’s keeping close track of the storm. Their biggest concerns are for their son Aidan and they appreciate all prayers and good wishes.
“Right now we just need support and just hope and faith that everything will come through fine and everyone will be fine once the storm goes through,” says Michelle.