Florida family takes shelter in East Lansing

COURTESY: GAIDA CABRAL

Thousands of Florida residents have already fled their homes hoping to get out, before the storm makes it’s way in.

That’s just what the Cabral family did.

They packed their bags and hopped on a plane last week, hoping to escape the path of Hurricane Irma.

Now they’re watching and waiting as it makes landfall this weekend.

“We’re either going to come back and have nothing, or we’re going to come back and we’re just going to have to replace the roof, but it’s one or the other,” says Ft. Lauderdale resident, Gaida Cabral.

Cabral has lived in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida for more than 20 years.

She’s not stranger to the strong winds of a storm, but when she heard how destructive Hurricane Irma’s path will be, she and her family knew it was time to head north.

“I emptied out my pool at least 3 ft. just in case water would pour in, we had to bring all of the furniture in. Everything that I thought was important to me, I bought plastic containers and I put them in those and I just stacked them up,” says Cabral.

The mid-Michigan native says up-rooting her family and leaving their home behind wasn’t easy.

But just as the hurricane grew, Cabral says, so did her anxiety.

“When I was little, tornadoes you got an alarm. It went off and you knew exactly what you had to do in that instant and that was it. We’ve been watching this storm for two weeks. Human nature makes you stress out over it no matter what you’re doing, even if you’re all set, it doesn’t matter, it just builds and builds and builds,” says Cabral.

Cabral says it’s the unknown of what she will go back to that troubles her the most.

“Right now my neighbor just posted on Facebook, she doesn’t have power. Which means most likely I don’t have power,” says Cabral.

But she says she’s prepared for the worst, and so are her children.

“It’s just overwhelming to know that everything you have is just like gone in an instant,” says Gaida’s daughter, Melaya Cabral.

“Life is more valuable than what a home is, I can always rebuild but I can’t replace my children. I can’t replace my husband. I can’t replace my dogs. I can’t replace my animals. It’s just life is first before anything else,” says Cabral.

Cabral is staying in contact with neighbors and friends though social media to monitor the storm damage.

She says she hopes to make it home sometime next week once the storm has cleared Ft. Lauderdale.

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