Kansas Citians ride out Hurricane Irma in Florida

Posted at 8:03 PM, Sep 11, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-12 06:06:51-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Irma hit the Tampa, Florida area early Monday morning as a category 2 hurricane.

“It came through about 1:30, but we had some heavy winds before that,” said Michelle Bishop Spiess, a Kansas City native.

Spiess and her family moved from Kansas City to Tampa eight years ago for work. She said they were as prepared as they knew how to be for this hurricane.

They boarded up the windows on their house, writing a message on the plywood reading, "Not in KS anymore."

“We were born and raised in Kansas, and we’re used to tornadoes. They come and go,” said Spiess. “That’s the main difference. Tornado, you deal with it and it’s over quick. But hurricane… your days on end trying to worry about it.”

And the worry was real. Spiess said across Tampa there are trees down, power lines down, and tree limbs thrown across roadways. Luckily her home sustained minor damage.

“We had a 30-foot tall palm tree that snapped in half and that was before the heavy winds came through,” she said.

In Orlando, another family from Kansas City rode out the storm in their hotel room. Kristyn Cain, her husband, and their kids were vacationing at Walt Disney World.

They had to hunker down in their hotel room for the last two days.

“It is still just pretty windy, but it’s getting better out here,” said Cain.

As people continue to clean up in south and central Florida, Cain said she’s grateful her family is okay and they get to go home soon.

“In the future, we will not be coming during hurricane season,” said Cain.