Nebraska native waits out Irma in St. Petersburg - News, Weather and Sports for Lincoln, NE;

Nebraska native waits out Irma in St. Petersburg

Posted By: Bayley Bischof Channel 8 Eyewitness News 

Nebraska native Marty Juarez says in 23 years of living in Florida, he's never seen a hurricane like irma.

"I've not seen one like this yet, this is the biggest I've ever seen,” Juarez said. “This is before the hurricane and this is as strong of winds as I've ever seen."

Marty and his family decided not to leave home as he’s not in an evacuation zone, but many in St. Petersburg are.

The city is just south of Tampa and almost completely surrounded by water.

This is why the biggest concern isn't just the hurricane hitting, but what comes next.

"If it comes to shore it should weaken somewhat but we're still gonna get a lot of rain bands and behind it what happens is the storm moves up the coast,” Juarez said. “What that'll do is it'll bring in 2, 3, 5, 10 feet of water and you couple that with rising tide and there will be homes that'll float away."

The storm is intense. Juarez describes hearing power transformers explode from the force of the wind and rain.

The worst is yet to come.

"I was just outside and this isn't the hurricane and it was already kinda scary so probably within, between 2 and 8 in the morning my anticipation is we're gonna see winds we've never seen here before probably between 110 and 140 miles per hour,” Juarez said.

But he's prepared...having spent the last two days reinforcing all windows with shatterproof Plexi-glass, and plywood.

He also has a generator and several weeks worth of food and water.

He says after Hurricane Irma passes...they will rebuild.

"We're gonna come out the other end of this thing and I think what's gonna end up happening is there's gonna be a lot of water damage, along the coast,” Juarez said. “I think everybody is poised to come back and rebuild."

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