FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — Retired Fort Wayne Police Officer Mike Joyner chatted with WANE 15 via Zoom on Wednesday as Hurricane Ian started to barrel through Florida.
A few years back, Joyner and his wife Cindy moved to the Tampa area. Ian is their first hurricane experience.
Joyner said they were feeling anxious during the leadup to it.
“We’re excited. I’ve got a daughter that’s in from Seattle. She came in for vacation, go figure, and she’s from the front door to the patio taking pictures so she can share this with everybody back in Seattle,” he said.”
They considered leaving the state, but decided to stay after looking at all the factors. He said they live in a sturdy, concrete-made condo made to withstand a hurricane. Plus, they aren’t at ground-level so there were no water concerns.
They prepared ahead of time and had food and supplies like batteries at the ready with enough to last for days if needed.
If anyone was looking for supplies in the last few days before the hurricane, they would’ve been out of luck, according to Joyner.
He compared the shelves at stores to the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic where people stocked up on things like toilet paper.
While the wind was very strong and impressive to Joyner, he admitted it felt like the Tampa area was being spared.
He acknowledged how rough things were getting just an hour south of them in the Sarasota and Fort Myers areas.
“Knowing what we’re getting right now and how significant it is, I can only imagine what they’re enduring,” Joyner said. “If there’s family and friends down there, reach out to them and make sure they’re OK.”
Joyner said the cleanup will be the hard part. Anyone who can contribute to helping their loved ones would be making a difference, he said.