Ahead of evacuations for Hurricane Ian, it’s unclear how many will go

SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. — The streets along the east side of Geneva proudly display the personalities of its residents. Boats and four-wheelers in driveways, “keep out” posted in front of gates and road signs marked by bullet holes.


It’s country. It’s where visitors are few and neighbors lift one another up. This week, it’s the place where people intend to ride out Hurricane Ian despite being in the middle of an area expected to flood.

READ: Osceola County residents prepare for the worst as Hurricane Ian’s projected path inches closer

With Seminole County expecting up to 20 inches of rain between Tuesday and Friday, leaders said they’re planning to issue an evacuation order to people in low-lying areas, mobile homes and anyone requiring power for medical devices. The county will open eight of its 15 shelters Wednesday morning to care for people without another place to go.

Most people preparing their driveways and homes for the storm in the Geneva area said they do not plan to evacuate. Boats were being pulled onto land, RVs tied down and decorations taken inside, but hotel rooms weren’t on the table.

Donnie Thomas’ brother lives on the shore of Lake Harney, on a road within the FEMA 100-year flood zone and where county officials placed stakes in the ground to mark the edges of the road in the event it became submerged.

READ: Universal, Disney World announce temporary closures ahead of Hurricane Ian

Thomas said his brother would stay and hope the St. John’s River stopped before his front door.

“Wait it out,” he said. “You’re going to lose power out here. Poles are going to break.”

A few neighborhoods over, one long-time resident living on a riverside canal said he expected his road to become impassable. Storms, he explained, put two or three feet of water between his house and the rest of civilization – nothing his truck couldn’t handle.

READ: Utility companies gear up for Hurricane Ian, aftermath

“We’ll see,” he said.

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