Hurricane Ian's impact on Florida visitors left her with no place to go

Posted at 5:07 PM, Sep 30, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-30 19:07:36-04

While many Floridians were preparing for Hurricane Ian headed toward them, some visiting Florida, unfortunately, were not. That was the case for Beatriz Perales, an IT Consultant working out of California for a Florida company that arrived in Sarasota on Wednesday.

"When I got here, everyone started telling me that we had to evacuate from our hotel because the hurricane was coming and it was supposed to hit Sarasota," said Beatriz Perales.

Perales was initially staying at a hotel near Sarasota Bay. But, after an evacuation order, she had an hour to get her belongings and evacuate her hotel room. Not knowing where to go from there, she started calling around.

"I called all these hotels, and they kept telling me we are booked, sorry. I just picked a hotel and went and told them I didn't have anywhere to stay, and they felt bad. So she told me to wait for an hour or two, and we will see what we can do," said Beatriz Perales.

She could pass the worst of the storm at a safe location. Sarasota County avoided a direct hit from Hurricane Ian, but the next day for Perales was difficult. She quickly realized she had no food or water. Pushing her luck, she decided to walk to a nearby gas station.

"And when I got there, everything was empty, all the shelves, everything was empty," said Perales.

Perales then learned her flight out of Sarasota International Airport was canceled. The nearest available flight was about an hour at the Tampa International airport, which resumed flights on Friday morning.

"I'm currently at the Tampa airport, and I'm working as I wait, and I wanted to make sure I'm here early so I don't miss my flight, and just in case my flight gets canceled, I'm able to rebook," said Perales.

Perales and many others await at the airport, hoping their flights don't get canceled and they can make it home safely.