Ian hits Florida, former Milwaukee resident hides

Hurricane Ian, one of the most powerful storms on record in the United States, flooded southwest Florida on Wednesday September 28, turning streets into rivers, knocking out power to 1.8 million people and threatening to cause catastrophic damage further inland. Here in Wisconsin, we are used to preparing for a very different type of storm. FOX6 News spoke with Phil Gerbyshak, a former Milwaukee resident who now lives in Florida.

FOX6 News spoke with Gerbyshak on Tuesday night as he braced for the storm. We saw him again Wednesday afternoon after the hurricane made landfall on the coast.

“I don’t need to get carried away,” Gerbyshak said.

But there are other weather conditions to prepare for in Florida.

“Yeah, out in Winter Garden, well, we’re starting to get some weather here, a little bit of a rush,” he said.

Gerbyshak, who lived in Milwaukee for 20 years, now lives inland near Orlando, not expecting the worst of Hurricane Ian to hit until Thursday night.

“The Publix grocery store closed at noon in our neighborhood, so it was a zoo,” Gerbyshak said.

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He was sidelined on Wednesday.

“We just cleaned under the stairwell, so we’re going to be like Harry Potter and living under the stairs for the next few days if we have to,” Gerbyshak said. “We’ll probably play cribbage next, and I wouldn’t be from Wisconsin if I didn’t tell you I had booze to taste.”

Brad Dachelet, who lives in Green Bay, owns an Airbnb rental in his parents’ old house near Tampa.

“It’s hard knowing I was there last week, and I could have extended my stay to survive that,” Dachelet said. “But part of me also knew that I couldn’t stop anything.”

He lets friends who have been evacuated stay on his property.

“Having friends and family who are all in that area in hits close to home,” Dachelet said.

He weathers the storm at his Green Bay home.

“We have our winter weather and our winter storms,” Dachelet said. “They have hurricanes. I’ll take the winter weather.”

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