People trying to escape Hurricane Ian’s impact on Florida make their way to New Jersey

Government officials are warning of catastrophic flooding as Hurricane Ian heads for Tampa, Florida.

News 12 Staff

Sep 27, 2022, 8:57 PM

Updated 627 days ago

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Government officials are warning of catastrophic flooding as Hurricane Ian heads for Tampa, Florida. Some Florida residents with ties to New Jersey are heading to the Garden State to escape the storm.
News 12 New Jersey caught up with Rick Ancona and his wife, who had just arrived at Newark Liberty International Airport on the 8:50 a.m. flight from Tampa.
“We were in a mandatory evacuation zone, so we had to at least move inland,” Ancona says.
The couple already had planned to fly to New Jersey this week for a wedding. Fully aware the storm was headed in their direction, they pushed up their flight two days early. Their home in Florida is only 50 yards from the Gulf.
“If it does hit where it’s supposed to hit, our entire house will be gone, and the entire peninsula of South Tampa will be gone,” Ancona says.
Ian is bearing down on Tampa, which hasn't had a direct hit from a storm since 1921. The storm is currently carrying winds of 125 mph.
"This could be the storm we've hoped would never come to our shores,” says St. Petersburg Mayor Ken Welch.
Along with evacuation orders, residents have been picking up sandbags and stocking up on gas for generators in case the power goes out for multiple days.
"Mother Nature always wins. This is nothing to mess around with. If you can leave, leave now and we will take care of your personal property,” says Tampa Mayor Jane Castor.
With flights out of Tampa being canceled, News 12 heard from one stranded New Jersey couple driving seven hours to South Carolina to catch a flight north.
Another New Jersey couple, Roy and Rosemarie Caratozzolo, just arrived back in New Jersey from Tampa. They were visiting Roy’s brother. They say they are aware of how lucky they are to have gotten out.
"If we would've left tomorrow, then we would've had to stay with my brother a little longer,” Roy says.
"They have plans that if they do lose electricity, they will go to someone else's house with a generator,” says Rosemarie.
Flights to cities like Orlando, Miami and Fort Lauderdale are still getting out. Orlando isn't closing until Wednesday morning.


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