Interior Florida residents brace for impacts from Hurricane Ian

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Interior Florida residents brace for impacts from Hurricane Ian
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THE VILLAGES, Florida – As hundreds of thousands of Floridians evacuate parts of Florida’s western shores as Hurricane Ian approaches, residents in the interior are not sitting idly by. Rainfall totals could reach up to a foot with hurricane-force winds, according to the National Weather Service.

“People are just scared, because you just don’t know,” Vivian Hudson told FOX Weather’s Robert Ray.

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The Villages Are Currently Under A Tropical Storm Watch.

The villages are currently under a tropical storm watch.

Hudson is one of nearly 150,000 residents of the 55-year-old community known as The Villages, located about an hour north of Orlando. They are potentially in Ian’s path despite being in the middle of the Florida peninsula. Hudson spent eight years living on the Gulf Coast of Texas and said he’s seen his fair share of hurricanes, but not all of his neighbors.

The Sunshine State has welcomed more than half a million new residents since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. The villages alone saw their population increase by 3 to 4 percent during this period, according to The Weekly Source, a publication on aging.

Cars Lined Up On Sunday To Fill Up At This Villages Gas Station.  The Gas Ran Out On Monday Afternoon.Cars Lined Up On Sunday To Fill Up At This Villages Gas Station.  The Gas Ran Out On Monday Afternoon.

Cars lined up on Sunday to fill up at this Villages gas station. The gas ran out on Monday afternoon.

“We’re just safe,” says resident Pat Krebs. “I don’t think we’ve done anything major yet, but we’ll still have batteries, flashlights and candles.”

Florida Power and Light hopes Krebs won’t need those candles for too long. They’ve already amassed an army of repair trucks less than 2 hours north of The Villages.

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Ray followed a parade of golf carts around more than 40 golf courses in what The Weekly Source called the world’s largest planned retirement community. He said people there were trying to make the last holes before the rain started in earnest on Tuesday.

Golf Cart ParadeGolf Cart Parade

The golfers rush to play another round before Ian arrives.

“Rain, water is going to be everywhere,” Ed Talbot said next to his golf clubs. “But like I say, ‘Pay the insurance, close it and wait.” “

Some residents have already brought outdoor furniture to keep it from becoming a missile in what National Weather Service forecasters wrote as “possible hurricane conditions” for Wednesday night. Many in the community still remember the devastation of Hurricane Irma, a 2017 storm that made landfall hundreds of miles away in southwest Florida.

“If it’s that bad, (20)17, you know,” Robert Krebs said. “(2017) was the worst.”

Irma From 2017Irma From 2017

Ray took a video of Irma whipping The Villages in 2017.

The FOX Forecast Center is tracking Ian and predicting the storm will make landfall somewhere between the Tampa Bay area and the Big Bend area of ​​the state. Ian will weaken on land, but the path sets eyes near villages as it heads north through the state on Thursday and Friday.

“The villages are crossing their fingers that they don’t see a repeat of what Hurricane Irma brought in 2017, which was a deluge of rain and wind,” Ray told FOX Weather.

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