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WNYers in Florida bracing for Hurricane Irma

Posted at 6:09 PM, Sep 07, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-07 18:09:17-04

Many people in WNY know a friend or family member who has moved down to the Sunshine State. Now, those WNY natives are prepping for a very serious storm as Hurricane Irma continues to move toward the peninsula as a Category 5.

7 Eyewitness News spoke with people across the state as they gear up for the storm. Irma is still a few days away from an expected landfall in South Florida.

Nancy Masse grew up in Kenmore and now lives in Dunedin. She calls the city that sits near Tampa a mixture of "Williamsville and Allentown". Masse plans to stay home throughout the storm and is telling her friends from WNY not to worry.

"We have our wits about us," she explained. "We know what we have to do."

Masse says Floridians know how to stay safe during storms like this. She has been preparing for days, and for every eventuality. She doesn't live in a flood zone so doesn't expect she'll have to evacuate during Irma.

"It's definitely anxiety producing right now," said Megan Firester. Megan and her husband Scott moved to Boynton Beach from Orchard Park six years ago. "There's just limited supplies."

The Firesters have two daughters, Bre, 8, and Abby, 2. The family plans to ride out the storm, unless there is an evacuation order for their area. Megan has been buying supplies like water and non-perishable foods. Scott has been preparing the home by hanging up hurricane shutters.

"We hope it just swings right like Scott Norwood's kick," Scott said.

Yes. A Bills fan hoping for another Wide Right.

7 Eyewitness News also spoke to several WNYers in the Orlando area Thursday.

Heather Gardner moved from Cheektowaga to Orlando in October. She's expecting to be able to stay home but has gathered supplies in a to-go bag and is ready to pick up and leave with her two dogs.

Linda Koerber still lives in Cheektowaga and she is likely stranded after being caught in the storm during a family trip to Disney World.

Six family members are staying at Shades of Green, a hotel for military families. Management has told the family if their flight out fo Orlando Saturday gets cancelled, which the family expects, they can stay as long as they need and will be moved to the third floor.

"We're just staying positive and praying a lot," Koerber said. "We're going to see what Saturday brings. Sunday. Monday. We don't know. When they let us out of here, that's when we'll leave."