Facing hurricane Ian
Former Iola family shares experience
By Holly Neumann
It has been a little over two years since Josh and Meghan Thompson decided to move from Iola to Venice, Florida.
Now, they are coping with Hurricane Ian, evacuating their home and facing an uncertain future.
“We were scared for sure,” said Josh. “But scared to leave, as well as scared to stay. It was the hardest decision we’ve had to make for the family.”
As the Ian approached and grew in strength, the Thompsons evacuated the area with their children Faith, 15, and Bennett, 12, and their pets.
“We made a last minute decision to leave based on the possibility of it hitting a Category 5 landfall, which was predicted to land right on top of us,” said Josh. “We got on I-75, with no exact route planned, and headed northwest toward Alabama knowing the storm was supposed to turn east once it hit land.”
The family stopped in Tallahassee the first night.
“Being a last minute decision to leave, we really did not have enough with us,” Josh said. Meghan had the dog and cats prepped to leave with about four to five days of food for them. We only packed about three to four days’ worth of clothes thinking/hoping it would be unnecessary and we would be able to return within a day or two at most, which we soon realized was not going to happen.”
Now the family faces many uncertainties about what lies ahead.
“How long until work is open and we can start to earn income again?” asked Josh. “How long until the schools can open again? Right now they are closed until further notice.”
Some of the bigger obstacles include delays in getting power and running water back.
“The biggest thing is just not knowing overall when we can go home,” Josh said.
A neighbor of the family walked through their home and reported that everything looks OK.
“With so many people being displaced we have to worry about looters breaking into homes to steal anything they can get in these critical times,” Josh said. “It is very unsettling being away from home.”
He said the family is doing fine.
“We just want life to be normal again,” said Josh. “The kids miss their friends and school.”
There are fears of how they will afford getting back to normal, and what the new normal will look like.
“It is heartbreaking to see the destruction,” Josh said.
One question still remains. Will the family stay in Florida?
“We truly can’t answer if we will remain in Florida after this,” said Josh. “It will certainly be a topic of discussion.”