Science and TechNatural Disasters


Some Florida Transplants Are Preparing For Their First Hurricane

A FEMA administrator warned a number of Floridians with no hurricane experience to take the storm very seriously and to ask neighbors for help.
Posted at 9:01 PM, Sep 27, 2022

As Hurricane Ian gains strength and barrels towards Florida, Peggy Dillon, a new homeowner in Manatee County just south of Tampa, recruited her friends and got to work.

She's hunkering down with her daughter to weather the hurricane behind shuttered windows. The shutters came with her new home — a first for Dillon who moved to the state from Colorado less than a year ago. Dillon said she never thought she would have to use them, especially not this soon.

Between July of 2020 through July of 2021, the U.S census estimates about 260,000 people moved to Florida.

Dillon's daughter, Jordan Whitehead, moved for college.

"There's a couple of us there that have not been through a hurricane before," Whitehead said. "It seems like all of us are a little bit afraid."

Whitehead says experienced Floridians at work call people like her "hurricane babies."  

"I went from earthquakes in California the first 25 years, then I spent 25 years of blizzards, now hurricanes," Dillon said. "This is definitely by far the hardest one to stomach."

The mother-daughter duo says they have loaded up on snacks, water and other essentials.

"My biggest fear is I have homes around me that have not been completed yet," Dillon said. "I'm a little bit worried about things flying and becoming little missiles straight for my house."

While she's done her homework on homeowners insurance and hurricanes, Dillon says she can't help but be worry about the unknown, despite all the preparations.