Hurricane Irma refugees take shelter in Lincoln

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[September 17, 2017]   LINCOLN - What would you have done? Steve Cina of Flagler Beach, Florida had a decision to make. Flagler Beach is between St. Augustine and Daytona Beach on the east coast of Florida, and early in the life of Hurricane Irma all sorts of predictions of its path were on the news all the time.

Toward the end of last week the mammoth hurricane was forecasted to track up the east coast of Florida as a Category 4 or 5 expected to rain and whip destruction.

“I was really stressed out because of the size of the storm, and when they predicted it would turn and go up the east coast right over us, I decided to leave,” he said.

Steve and his wife Joanne and their two dogs Murphy and Casey jumped into their camper on Friday and headed for the safe haven of Tallahassee on the west side of the state. They breathed a sigh of relief. Then everything changed.

After reserving the last available space at a Tallahassee camp ground full of east coast evacuees, the weather gurus then predicted that Irma would pass over the Florida Keys and go up the west coast of Florida headed straight for Tallahassee as a Category 4 hurricane. Could this be more unbelievable?

“I have learned that no one knows what a hurricane will do,” said Steve. “My neighbor headed for South Carolina and ran into endless lines on the interstate. His trip took much longer than expected,” said Steve.

Now what to do? They had to leave for a safer area. Going back to Flagler Beach was out of the question due to the size of the storm and the bumper to bumper traffic.

“We decided to go on to Montgomery, Alabama on Sunday, but when we got there, every camping space was sold out. I was tired of trying to outguess the storm, and the constant change in the forecast of its track, so we made the only decision that seemed reasonable,” he said.

The decision was to make a vacation trip out of the whole crazy experience and visit his daughter Jennifer Kellett who just happens to live in Lincoln.

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So Steve and Joanne hit the road for Lincoln and survived the fury of Hurricane Irma safe and sound in the driveway of their daughter’s home.

Steve Cina has been in contact with his neighbors in Flagler Beach, and his home and neighborhood experienced minimal damage and a small amount of flooding. The rest of Florida is a mess. He is expecting a package delivery from Jacksonville, Florida by UPS, but has been told that it will be delayed due to the serious flooding the city has experienced.

The Brooklyn native says he has been through several hurricanes and they were never as bad as predicted, but this one was different. “I believed the predictions this time. I was really nervous,” he said.

Steve and Joanne were appreciating their safe haven in Lincoln as it was mere mists of Hurricane Irma that fell over the area on Wednesday. They plan to wait a few more days and then head home when the traffic and power issues subside.

Their trip to Lincoln also served another purpose. Steve purchased the pickup truck that pulls his camper in Lincoln, and it is now at the local Ford dealer for scheduled maintenance. They got to visit with Jennifer and fixed their truck.

Steve and Joanne are ready for more adventures on the road, just not running from a monster storm named Irma.

[Curtis Fox]

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