Capital Region native rides out Hurricane Irma in Fort Myers

September 11, 2017 12:03 AM

FORT MYERS, FL -- Heavy rain pelted Fort Myers, Florida Saturday as Hurricane Irma spawned wind gusts strong enough to bend entire trees like rubber.

“You think the tornadoes are going through but it’s not yet,” said Kurt Witt. “There's a watch out for them.

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You never know the way the wind is blowing it's pretty bad.”

The 54-year-old was born and raised in New York's Capital Region.

He has been living in Fort Myers with his fiancé for more than a year.

A big concern in the city is the storm surge, or the rising sea levels.

“Fort Myers beach, the Caloosahatchee River are all receding because the winds are blowing to the west,” Witt said. “So it's taking the water out and that's the water surge we're talking about later on when the eye passes when you start getting the back wind, all that water's going to come back.”

“The wind we've don't before,” said Florida Governor Rick Scott. “It's going to be really bad. We're going to lose power. We're going to lose roofs, we're going to have a lot of problems but this storm surge is absolutely deadly.”

Witt described the scene at supermarkets and gas stations before the storm as chaotic.

He said he loaded up on enough food and supplies for about a week.

“We stocked the pantry all up, we got the freezer full, we got the generator running the freezer and refrigerator so we're not going to lose food there,” he said.

Irma is Witt's first hurricane.

However, the Selkirk native has no regrets about trading the cold winters of Upstate New York for the Sunshine State.

Instead of evacuating, his family decided to wait out the storm in their new home come Irma or high water, perhaps both.

“And my neighbors around here that have been here for years, I talked to them and they said we're all going to stick it out,” Witt said.

No matter how bad it gets, Witt has no plans to move back to New York, unless Hurricane Jose follows Irma's path.

“If Jose comes through that's a different story,” Witt said.

Witt said the center of the storm reached Fort Myers Sunday night and luckily, his family made it through ok.


Nia Hamm

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