Floridians, travelers brace themselves to withstand Hurricane Ian as it hits land

Western Mass News continues to track Hurricane Ian after it made landfall Wednesday afternoon.
Published: Sep. 28, 2022 at 10:25 PM EDT
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(WGGB/WSHM) - Western Mass News continues to track Hurricane Ian after it made landfall Wednesday afternoon.

We caught up with travelers on some of the last flights arriving in Connecticut from Florida who told us that they are glad to have made it safely.

Meanwhile, the son of our Getting Answers host, Dave Madsen, is in the Sunshine State, working hard to keep residents of a senior living facility safe as the building gets hit hard by the storm.

“We’ve never experienced anything like this,” said Southampton native Greg Madsen. “The closest to anything like this would be Hurricane Andrew in ‘92, and that was absolutely devastating to Homestead.”

Madsen spoke with Western Mass News on Wednesday. He is the resident director for a senior living facility in Fort Myers, Florida, working to keep a group of seniors safe during Hurricane Ian. Their building is right on a river, and Madsen told us that they had a plan for when the eye of the storm was expected to hit their area.

“We’ll be in the atriums, which is an enclosed center part of the building,” he said. “No windows or anything like that.”

Around 2:30 p.m. Wednesday afternoon, Madsen said the facility had just lost its roof, and around 6:30 p.m., he described the situation as a crisis, saying there was water breaching the building.

Meanwhile, earlier Wednesday afternoon, the last two flights touched down at Bradley International Airport in Windsor Locks, Connecticut, out of Orlando International Airport, which closed at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday morning because of the storm.

We caught up with travelers coming from Orlando who described the scene at the airport Tuesday night.

“Horrendous,” said Cindy Mason of Windsor Locks. “People were crying, families, lots of big groups that were just trying to get out.”

Some, who were able to escape the Sunshine State in time for vacation, made their final preparations before leaving their house behind.

“Getting the house a little bit ready,” said Kyle McCarry of Clermont, Florida. “Last night, was picking up a bunch of stuff off the bottom floor if there was any flooding.”

Airport officials told us that this could impact other flights across the country.

“As Florida gets out of the storm, we do anticipate it will take some time for the airlines to catch up on those specific flights to and from Florida,” said Connecticut Airport Authority’s Public Information Officer, Alisa Sisic. “Naturally, as the airlines manage their staffing and airline operations, there could be some impact to other flights, again, why it’s important for passengers to stay in touch with their airline.”

Sisic said that those cancellations and delays could last through the weekend. Meanwhile, organizations like the Salvation Army and Red Cross are preparing to help those affected by the disaster, telling us that they have volunteers down in Florida working on relief efforts.