Vermonters Living, Studying in Florida Survey Damage Following Hurricane Irma

HUDSON, FL - For Michael Brown, this weekend was unlike anything he's experienced before.

The 29 year-old has been living in Florida for the past five years, but is originally from Eden, Vt.

He and his family live in Hudson, Florida.

With Hurricane Irma on the way, they evacuated to Palm Harbor over the weekend, and spent about 24 hours in a shelter there.

When they returned home Monday morning, they were lucky to find despite flooding and downed trees, their home was largely untouched.

"A lot of people are breathing a sigh of relief on just how quickly and dramatically Irma downgraded," said Brown.

He says the city won't be up and running, anywhere from three to ten days.

"There's no gas stations, no fast food, all the supermarkets are closed down completely here. Traffic lights are out. I've seen billboards that have completely toppled over," said Brown.

Vermont Governor Phil Scott says VTrans is prepared to help out in Florida, and the agency has worked out different scenarios and plans over the weekend.

"Trying to take down debris, move debris out of the roadways. We're pretty good at that, so we have a number of teams that we've assembled, if they would like us to come, we're prepared to go," said Scott.

Right now, Green Mountain Power has not gotten any requests to go to Florida, but it and other Vermont utility companies have offered. GMP officials say they're also tracking Hurricane Jose, to be prepared for that, as well.

The American Red Cross New Hampshire and Vermont region will send a crew to Orlando. The agency says it's a team made up of volunteers and staff, and they'll serve as needed during a two-week deployment. Travel arrangements are still being made.

23 Red Cross volunteers from the Eastern New York Region have now been deployed to Florida, Georgia and the U.S. Virgin Islands to support this relief effort.

"There's definitely still a lot of work to do, as far as the city is concerned, but they're working very, very hard. I think they said 19,000 crews are out, fixing everything," said Brown.

For now, Brown and his family are taking it day by day.

"We were expecting much, much worse, and we're really fortunate that it died down. A lot of people were relieved," said Brown.

Last week, Local 22 & Local 44 reporter Alexandra Leslie also spoke with some students from the Robert Larner College of Medicine at the University of Vermont Medical Center, who were doing their clinical rotations at St. Mary's Hospital in West Palm Beach.

The students tell Leslie they left the hospital Monday morning and are safe, and now just trying to clean up and get some rest after a busy weekend.


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