Portland woman braves Hurricane Ian after recent Tampa move

Published: Sep. 29, 2022 at 4:38 PM PDT
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PORTLAND Ore. (KPTV) - Hurricane Ian has left a path of destruction in Southwest Florida. Although the storm may be on the other side of country, the impact is felt here in Oregon.

The Oregon State Fire Marshall’s Office has sent over a dozen firefighters from across Oregon to help Florida first responders on the ground. Stefani Wicks, a native Portlander, just moved to Tampa within the last year. She said she feared the worst as Ian approached this week.

“We got all of our supplies and we were ready for whatever,” said Wicks. “Where our apartment is was in an evacuation level A.”

That level of evacuation, Wicks says, means it is time to leave immediately. Wicks, however, works as a nurse and had to stay in Tampa, but says her fiancé evacuated inland to Orlando. Ian battered areas south of Tampa like Fort Meyers especially hard, but Wicks says conditions were still unsettling where she was.

“Before the hurricane made landfall, it was kind of windy, a little rainy, which I was like ‘okay that’s alright.’ Once it hit it was kind of late night on Wednesday and it was pretty windy, bad winds.”

Wicks and her fiancé recently purchased a townhome in the Tampa area, something they worked to protect by boarding up windows at the last minute. They are currently renting an apartment.

“I haven’t been over there to see it yet, but we boarded up the windows there because we’re not on the third level of an apartment building,” said Wicks.

Wicks says being from the Pacific Northwest, the idea of living through a hurricane was unthinkable. But she says it was in the back of her mind when she moved.

“I knew it was a possibility that it would happen, and I didn’t like it. I’ll try and cross that bridge when I get to it, which we did.”