SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico -- A loyal FOX61 viewer reached out to us during a Facebook Live video we posted about Hurricane Irma on Thursday. Flor Hernández says she was writing in from Puerto Rico. We followed up with Flor to see how she was waking up the day after the storm passed by her home.
Flor, her husband, two kids, and two dogs hunkered down Wednesday night to prepare for Hurricane Irma. Her family lives in Cagaus, Puerto Rico, and while they didn’t see the brunt of the storm, Irma certainly made her presence known.
Her daughter, Gabriela Vega, recounts the storm going on for hours.
“More than 8 hours," says Gabriela. "But the strongest winds started at 6 o'clock at night.”
Gabriela says they were ready when Irma arrived, barricading their cement home’s windows with what they call platforms.
“It’s like a metal barrier that covers the windows," says Gabriela. "We couldn’t sleep thinking that maybe they would hit us, and that the platforms wouldn’t be enough.”
Flor's family is without water or power but still have cellphone reception, allowing them to contact other members of their family.
“Now I am scared because my family lives in Orlando and Miami, and they are getting prepared now," says Flor.
And while many Puerto Rican homes are made to withstand tropical storms, Flor warns that is not always the case in America.
“I already told my family you should be prepared," says Flor. "We live in houses that are made of cement, full concrete, I always say they live in house that are made of cardboard.”
Gabriela says they were lucky but Irma remains unpredictable.
“They have to really really prepare for the worst because you never know what might happen.”," says Gabriela. “You only live once and you can not put your life in that position in danger.”
The family tells FOX61 that their community is now working to reestablish service, and assess what damage has been done. They are being told to stay calm, and try to stay home as much as possible.