Florida woman traveling in the metro worries about home ahead of Hurricane Irma

FL woman traveling in metro worries about Irma
Posted at 11:02 PM, Sep 07, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-08 07:20:52-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — As Hurricane Irma moved closer to Florida on Thursday, a woman from the state on vacation in the metro worried about her home.

Jenni Vanderwalker, who lives in Jupiter, is visiting Kansas City this weekend for a wedding.

While she was happy to see friends and family here in the area, her mind remained on her home in Florida.

"You wonder if your house is going to be there when you go back," she explained. "By the time we left, it wasn't even a warning or a watch yet. Now we're in the catastrophic impact zone."

Forecasters have listed Hurricane Irma as a category five storm with winds of around 180 miles per hour.

Early indications show the storm may hit south Florida around early Sunday.

"Everybody has been moving everything upstairs and moving everything from the bottom floor to the second floor," Vanderwalker explained. "There was a water line out the door and around the side of Walmart."

Since arriving in the metro area, Vanderwalker has been exchanging texts with friends back in Florida.

After leaving her dog at home, she hoped everything would be okay.

"A lot of people have to stay behind," she explained. "So we're concerned about them and their pets. We left our pets because we were coming for a wedding. We weren't coming to evacuate."

Hurricane Irma has already impacted Vanderwalker’s travel plans.

She told 41 Action News that her return flight on Sunday has already been canceled, leaving her plans to get home still uncertain.

"I'm a high school teacher and I'm supposed to start teaching at a new school," she said. "That clearly will not be happening." 

With the storm moving closer to Jupiter, Vanderwalker continued to hope things will stay safe.

"We brought all of our important papers and if (the house) is all gone, at least we have each other," she explained. "As long as we're safe together, we're strong as a family."

Hurricane Irma struck parts of the Caribbean on Thursday and left around a million people in Puerto Rico without power.

The storm has already been blamed for at least nine deaths.