Tasmanian Matt Ogilvie shares hurricane Irma experience

Irma’s ferocity hits home DESTRUCTION: Tasmanian Matt Ogilvie and his wife, Terri, expect hurricane Irma to come within 50 kilometres of their apartment in Orlando, Florida. Pictures: supplied

TweetFacebook Images from OrlandoPictures: Matt OgilvieWarning sirens blast through howling winds, trees areripped from the ground and coastal roads are being washed away:meet Hurricane Irma.

Tasmanian man Matt Ogilvie has described the destruction caused byIrma as it approachedhis normally quiet apartment in Orlando, Florida.

“There has been quite a few messages and pleas to evacuate if you live in certain homes and areas,” he said.

Originally from Burnie, Mr Ogilvie hasbeen living in Florida since 1997.

The eye of Irma was expected to hit 50 kilometres west of Winter Springs, which is where MrOgilvielives with his wife, Terri.

The couple chose not to evacuate.

Florida’s strict building codes gave Mr Ogilvie confidence his newly-built apartment was safe.

“There were so many people leaving the state that it was becoming problematic,” he said.

“Many people were running out of petrol and finding that petroleum stations did not have any.”

In preparation forthe hurricane the couple headed to the shops to stock-up on water and non-perishable items.

They were confronted with police manning stores to “keep things under control”.

Communicationfrom authorities and Florida Governor Rick Scott in the past week had been great, Mr Ogilvie said.

Governor Scott told US media power outages were expected acrossFlorida.

“We do have a lot of resources already in Orlando, so as it passesOrlando we will be able to get those trucks on the road …but it is going to take a while,” he said.

“That is why we’ve said all week [people need] three days of water and three days of food.

“We are going to do everything we can to help you, but we have to save everybody first.”

At midnight -about 2.30pm AEST-the Ogilvies lost power, forcing them to rely ontheir generator.

Mr Ogilvie said theylost power for about 12 hours during hurricane Matthew in 2016.

Matthew was the first category 5Atlantic hurricane to hit since hurricane Felix in 2007.

But he also acknowledged Irma’s force was far greater than Matthew.

“Matthew was predictable, but Irma seems to keep everyone guessing,” Mr Ogilvie said.

Irmabattered through South Floridacausing more than a million power outages.

Florida’s National Weather Service issued a flash flooding warningfor several parts of the state’s north-east.

Two days ago Irma was a category 5 hurricane with maximum wind speeds of 300km/h, but it hasbeen downgraded to a category 1.

The Examiner

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