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Friday
Sep082017

Irma Diary: Tampa woman chronicles waiting out storm with her parents in Naples

iStock/Thinkstock(NAPLES, Fla.) -- Tampa Bay resident Jessica Brightman decided to join her parents in Naples to ride out Hurricane Irma, expecting the storm to largely wreak havoc on the state's east coast.

But on Saturday, a hitch in her plan emerged: Naples was projected to be in Irma's path.

Still, her parents' home is ready for Irma: The windows are boarded up, and the cupboards are stocked with food, bottled water and other supplies.

Brightman, who works at the University of South Florida in Tampa, is documenting her stay for ABC News.

Saturday, early afternoon

Even with all the hurricane monitoring, storms can still be very unpredictable, and getting in the car just driving from place to place trying to avoid the storm only causes more chaos. Naples is an evacuation zone, but at this point it's better to stay and shelter in place rather than driving around to different emergency shelters that are all at capacity. Some parts of Collier County are even going to be under a tornado watch as well, so you're either combating the wind or the water or both.

It has definitely been a long week, with a high-anxiety weekend ahead. And it does not help to have friends and family who live in a different state calling you to give "shoulda-coulda-woulda" advice. There are numerous factors that must be taken into consideration when preparing for a hurricane and/or evacuating, and that extra stress is the last thing Floridians need at the moment.

At this point, it's just a long waiting game for Irma to show up and pass through the state.


Saturday, late afternoon

Everyone in Naples has either gone off the roads and evacuated, or sheltered in place. And it's all just a waiting game now.

In Naples, we are shuttered up and just waiting for the storm to come through and ride it out and see how it goes. A lot of the neighborhood has left. It's pretty empty and quiet down here, but we're just waiting for Irma.

Saturday, 6 p.m.

The rain starts.


Saturday, 9 p.m.

Because of the threat of the storm surge, my mom was getting too nervous, so she had us go to a shelter. It's definitely an odd feeling knowing that only your most important valuables/possessions -- aside from family -- are with you in a backpack because of the unknown of what's to come. Here's to a long 24-36 hours ahead! I wonder how many books I'll get through.

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