States of emergency and evacuation orders have been issued up and down Florida’s coastlines. Retired Vermont State Police Lieutenant Bill O’Leary who is currently on Marco Island, a community facing a significant storm surge shared how they were fairing on Tuesday night.

“We can tell that the waves are starting to pick up a little bit. We know that the worst of it is going to come Wednesday. The island here is in a mandatory evacuation order but we are on a really tall high rise right on the beach and the windows and doors are rated for a category 5 hurricane and we thought it would be best to stay here. We anticipate a big part of the storm is going to past toward our north and west but we are going to get the storm surge with it.”

When asked if he feels safe, O’Leary said, “I do, we are in a really tall, strong structure. I’ve talked to people who have withstood hurricanes here before. The problem is they thought it was going to go further north and it kind of painted us into a corner with our escape routes because to the north of us is the hurricane route, to the south are the everglades and to the west is the ocean. We are very comfortable where we are at, we have all the supplies, the truck that we have is gassed up. We don’t think the storm surge is going to do anything here and they are telling us that is why the mandatory evacuation order was issued so we think we are going to be able to sit it out on Wednesday and hope for the best.”

O’Leary says the building itself will probably lose electricity but the common areas will have a generator keeping the air conditioning going.

When asked what his plan is if the storm surge keeps them inside for days, O’Leary said, “If the storm surge does happen, we think it will happen to the canals and some of the bridges in the area. We don’t think it is going to flood across from the beach onto the main road here. If it does, our truck is up on the second-floor parking deck. We are on the seventh floor, we have plenty of food and provisions so we will just sit and wait it out until the water recedes.”