Upstate New York natives staying in Florida during Hurricane Irma

Some native New Yorkers living in Florida decided to stay in the path of Hurricane Irma.

“See time has passed and it’s still kind of okay out here,” said Mary-Lee Soules. 

When you’re a New York native, hurricanes aren't necessarily your area of expertise.

“As long as you guys can see the Bills. The Bills need to win today,” said Soules.

“So I’ve been through a few hurricane seasons, but I haven’t been through a hurricane in Florida,” she added.

Soules has lived in St. Petersburg, Florida for the last four years. She is originally from Port Byron, New York.

“Within the last 24 to 48 hours is when we realized it was really coming in our direction,” said Soules.

Hurricane Irma touched down on Florida Sunday morning, moving up through the state. Soules and her boyfriend decided to stay and brave the storm Saturday evening. 

“We stayed because like I said, 'our lives kind of work that way.' Friday afternoon we were working. They didn’t close things down until 2 or 3 on Friday afternoon,” said Soules.

Soules isn’t the only native New-Yorker staying. 

“When it went more towards Tampa, we decided to jump in the truck and come up here,” said Sara Palmieri.

Palmieri is originally from Oswego, now living in Zephyrhills, Florida but staying in Jacksonville through the hurricane. She moved down to the state last year with her family. 

“I never even thought about what people had to do down here just to prepare. Get the gas for the generators, get food and water for a week, it’s just crazy,” said Palmieri. 

While the wind and rain were relatively calm in both areas Sunday morning, both women are remaining prepared.

“Let’s put it this way, if I wasn’t confident it wouldn’t matter now so I better be confident. I’ve committed. Once you commit, you don’t go back and we committed, we’re here so now is the time to be confident in the decision we made,” said Soules.

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