It would be hard to imagine a storm the size of Hurricane Irma barreling down on you.
The fear, the anticipation, the worry: it is those feelings and more for Janet Colarusso, a Saskatchewan woman who has called Florida home for decades.
The Category 5 storm has devastated the Caribbean and is making its ways toward the state, although it isn’t yet clear yet whether it will make landfall.
Having lived through Hurricanes Andrew and Wilma, Colarusso isn’t taking any chances.
She, her husband and dog Cheech have taken as many provisions as they can in preparation for when the storm hits.
“Bring your own candles, bring your own food and bring your own medications and water – water is a real key issue,” Colarusso explained. “We brought lots of tins of tuna and corn beef and I’m originally a farm girl so I didn’t fight the crowds to buy bottled water. I saved empty gallons of water and am filling them with drinking tap water.”
Colarusso added they also took paper plates and ice packs with them because they are guaranteed to be without power for a couple of weeks, which she called “best case scenario.”
Colarusso, who originally moved to the United States when she was working on cruise ships, has experienced two hurricanes at sea.
“All you can do is hope you have a good stomach that you don’t get too sea sick. They say you are almost safer at sea than anywhere else,” Colarusso explained. “Although I wouldn’t like to be on a ship during Irma. They don’t know how they would survive.”
Colarusso stayed home during the last major storm but that in large part is why she decided to move to a hotel instead. They feel the structure will be stronger and hold up against the storm far better than their house.
“We were sleeping in the hallway because that was the only area that didn’t have windows and leaning against the wall and feeling the walls vibrating was terrifying and that is not something I am looking forward to in this particular storm,” Colarusso said.
The advice is similar to that given during a tornado: when Irma hits you are advised to move to somewhere without windows.
“In most hotels that would be the hallways or locking yourself in a bathroom,” Colarusso said.
For now, it is business as usual, Colarusso continues to go to work at Fort Lauderdale airport and keeps monitoring the news and the skies.
“When it comes down to it, all you have to do is remember what is important and the truth is, if you lose your stuff, it is just stuff,” Colarusso maintained. “Me and my husband and my little dog will be hunkered down and will do everything we can and deal with what is going to happen after.”