Utah native facing Hurricane Irma: ‘There really is no safe place in Florida right now’

Posted at 9:32 PM, Sep 10, 2017

SALT LAKE CITY -- Hurricane Irma's path continues to change, and the unpredictability has people in Florida even more worried than before, even those who have experienced hurricanes in the past.

One woman, KimberLee Blacker Herron, told Fox 13 her husband has lived in Florida for 30 years and seen a few hurricanes, but nothing that compares to Irma.

"This is unlike anything anyone's ever seen because of the width," Herron said. "I mean it's 150 miles across. Our state is not even that wide."

Herron is a Utah native, living in northern Utah for 40 years. She moved to Florida in 2011. She and her husband currently live in Sebastian, about 150 miles north of Miami.

They have another home about 20 miles south in Vero Beach. She said the hurricane may have moved up the west coast, but the rest of the state is still feeling Irma's wrath.

“You know, we thought you could only have one calamity at a time and apparently you can have more than one hit your state," she said. "There really is no safe place in Florida right now. Everybody’s being affected, no matter where you are in the state."

She added many have asked her why she did not evacuate. Her answer: it was not as simple as one may think. In watching the local news, she heard around one-fifth of Florida evacuated the state.

That many people leaving all at once, she said, caused some major problems.

“We literally just did not have gasoline," she said. "There was no gasoline. There was no water for miles and miles. We had to wait in line and you were lucky to get a pallet of water and fill up your tank of gas."

Millions are without power, including Herron and her neighbors. She said she lost hers about 4 p.m. Sunday afternoon, but she was still getting constant phone alerts for flash flood and tornado warnings.

She said she is worried to see what Monday will bring. Once she lost power, she closed her hurricane shutters and did not plan on looking outside until things calmed down Monday morning. She said what is getting her through is all the love coming from Utah.

“I just want Utah to know that our hearts are always, always – oh I’m starting to cry – we are thinking of our Utah family and friends all the time, and are so overwhelmed by just the outpouring of love of people that have been posting and texting and writing and messaging to us over here," she said, adding she hopes in the aftermath everyone will come together like they have been in Texas for Hurricane Harvey.