Kate Snyder is trying not to contact her parents in Venice, Florida, too often because she knows they might lose power when Hurricane Ian strikes, but she said it is hard not to think of them every moment.

“It’s supposed to hit in the next few hours,” Snyder of Lewiston said at about noon Wednesday.

This satellite image taken at 3:06 p.m. EST on Wednesday shows Hurricane Ian making landfall in southwest Florida near Cayo Costa as a catastrophic Category 4 storm. NOAA via AP

According to the National Weather Service’s National Hurricane Center in Miami, the eye of the storm made landfall at about 3:05 p.m. Wednesday as a Category 4 storm on the southwestern coast. Winds were estimated at 150 mph.

Snyder, who works at Bates College in Lewiston, is one of many Mainers worrying about family or friends living in Florida as the hurricane crosses the state.

She was on her way to lunch with a colleague Wednesday to get her mind off her parents’ situation, but Snyder said thinking about other things was easier said than done as she awaited her mother’s updates sent by text message.

“My mom said the winds are pretty extreme, but they still have power,” Snyder said.


Because they are in Zone C and have a home built in the last 10 years with some shutters and shatterproof windows, her parents Chris and Priscilla Flanagan, who are in their 70s, do not have to evacuate, but are asked to stay in place, according to Snyder.

Priscilla Flanagan grew up in Clinton, Maine, and Chris in Nashua, New Hampshire, so they know how to weather blizzards and nor’easters, she said. They have stocked up on food, batteries and other necessities.

“My mom has 30 years of classroom experience,” Snyder said. “I’ve never met a more prepared human in my life.”

Richard South, another former Mainer living in Florida, said he and his wife moved eight years ago from Augusta to Port St. Lucie, Florida. They have boarded up their house there and are awaiting Ian’s arrival.

“We just got finished putting the hurricane shutters up all around our home,” South, originally from England, wrote in an email just after 2 p.m. Wednesday. “We’re the only ones in our neighborhood who have put them up but it’s worth the peace of mind. It costs nothing to put them up, but would cost a lot of time/money to repair them if anything happened.”

South described the hurricane as a “weird storm.”


“We were never forecast a direct hit, but due to the size, it has been treated seriously,” he wrote. “Even just feeling the effects of it will still see gusts of up to 75 mph and flooding.”

Skowhegan native Martha Pelletier was holed up at her cottage in Bradenton, Florida, at about 3 p.m. Wednesday, awaiting the worst of the storm. An acupuncturist who moved to Florida 25 years ago, she said she lives 9 miles from Holmes Beach, off the Gulf of Mexico, but the Manatee River, which flows into the Gulf, is about a mile away. Holmes Beach is between Anna Maria Island and Bradenton Beach, she said.

Pelletier is not in an evacuation zone, but many people left the area to stay elsewhere, she said.

“What they’re saying is there’s going to be a big storm surge because of all this water being backed off the ocean,” said Pelletier, 69. “Once the hurricane hits shore, all the water is going to come with it, and that’s where the real danger is.”

Pelletier said she is concerned about flooding and a large oak tree in her backyard that provides shade, but could break in the high winds.

As she spoke by phone, she said the lights were flickering and she expected to lose power. But she was prepared. She had frozen gallons of water to place in her refrigerator to keep food cold after the power goes out, and she has plenty of food, water and batteries.


She also said she has a small radio she can crank to generate power and charge her phone. She could go to a shelter, if needed and if roads are passable.

“They’re talking about some of Bradenton being tornadolike,” she said. “I’m not that far from the high school, which is a shelter, but I’m worried about getting there because you have to cross a creek, which is off the Manatee River.”

Asked if she was scared, Pelletier said she was.

“It really makes me want to cry every time I turn the TV on and see how bad it is,” she said.

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