The residents of Marco Island were issued a mandatory evacuation order, but some decided to stick it out as Hurricane Ian approached the barrier island off the southwest coast of Florida.
Through the Marco Island Florida & Naples too Facebook group, the evacuees expressed concern for their hometowns. They wondered about the flooding and the wind. What was the extent of the damage? Then came replies, photos and videos from those who had stayed.
“How is the water level in Marco Island right now?” Jeanmarie Genirs-Josling asked in a post around 11:30 a.m.
“The water is up over the first step of our house,” replied Karen Hartford Corriveau.
“Can anyone see if it is flooded at 711?” Cindy Nacarelli posted around 12:45 p.m.
“Unfortunately, it’s flooded everywhere,” Heba Elmattary replied.
Karissa Thomas was among those who remained on Marco Island.
“Still have power and no real debris or puddles,” she posted around noon.
Via Facebook messenger, she told the Tampa Bay Times that she “was born in Naples so storms don’t panic me. We ran before and the storm always found us anyway, so what’s the point?”
Thomas lives about a block and a half from the Gulf of Mexico, but the water had made its way to her apartment building.
“We are on the third floor of a concrete building and have shutters,” she said. “It just makes more sense to stay.”
Thomas understands why many evacuated. She feels obliged to keep them in the know.
“The most reliable news is the people who are right there with nothing to gain from sharing,” she said. “True real time updates.”
Marco Island real estate agent Becky Irwin posted a video around 11:30 a.m. reminding anyone who stayed to remain in their homes.
“The streets are pretty flooded,” she said. “This happened very quickly … The streets on Marco are really flooded so everybody please, please be careful. Don’t go out into the streets.”
Meanwhile, the evacuees hopes for the best.
Around 8 a.m., Teresa Aylor posted, “Our hearts are with you Marco Island and Naples.”
An hour after first talking with the Times, Thomas provided another update through messenger, “Actually getting really bad now. True flooding.”
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2022 Tampa Bay Times Hurricane Guide
ROAD CLOSURES: What to know about bridges, roads as Hurricane Ian approaches.
HOW TO TALK TO KIDS ABOUT THE HURRICANE: A school mental health expert says to let them know what’s happening, keep a routine and stay calm.
WHAT TO EXPECT IN A SHELTER: What to bring — and not bring — plus information on pets, keeping it civil and more.
WHAT TO DO IF HURRICANE DAMAGES YOUR HOME: Stay calm, then call your insurance company.
SAFEGUARD YOUR HOME: Storms and property damage go hand in hand. Here’s how to prepare.
IT'S STORM SEASON: Get ready and stay informed at tampabay.com/hurricane.
RISING THREAT: Tampa Bay will flood. Here's how to get ready.
DOUBLE-CHECK: Checklists for building all kinds of hurricane kits
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Rising Threat: A special report on flood risk and climate change
INTERACTIVE MAP: Search your Tampa Bay neighborhood to see the hurricane flood risk.