'We didn’t know what to expect': 2 Idahoans move to Puerto Rico to be greeted by Hurricane Fiona

Idahoans hurricane Fiona
Posted at 4:53 PM, Sep 27, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-27 18:53:50-04

PUERTO RICO — Two Idahoans moved to Puerto Rico a few months ago but little did they know, Hurricane Fiona would greet them shortly after they moved.

“We kind of knew it would happen, but we didn’t expect it would happen in the first four months," Alexander Welch said.

Welch was born and raised in the Treasure Valley. He lived in Meridian and Middleton but decided to take a chance and move to Puerto Rico with his fiánce Karen.

“We always kind of wanted to move to the Caribbean,” Welch said.

Related: Florida prepares for major Hurricane Ian, 2.5 million ordered to evacuate

The two had a love for the island and kind community that drew them to Puerto Rico, specifically the municipality of Ciales.

Just four months after their more than 3,000-thousand mile move, Hurricane Fiona made landfall in their new home.

“You thought it was going to hit at one time and then it keeps taking longer and longer and longer. Then the storm got stronger and stronger and stronger and I think that’s what scared us the most was, we didn’t know what to expect," Welch said.

He said the worst of the storm hit at night.

“I remember waking up in the middle of the night and all of our windows are shaking and rattling," Welch said. "I think that was the most intimidating because it was pitch black so you couldn’t see outside.”

“We looked down our mountain, where we live, and it looks almost like a big cloud coming toward you and it's just a big wall of water," he said. "After the storm, I didn’t realize the intensity of it because of the mountain it looked liked like a river.”

The couple then went without power and water for nine days — and counting.

“We got up the next morning when it passed and I didn’t realize the damage it did when it passed," Welch said. "We had a landslide on our property here and it washed out and took out our water lines.”

Now they are working to clean up the damage and hope the island returns back to normal soon.

"It was definitely a learning experience to know if we can make it here or not," he said. "We're definitely both pretty tough and were used to camping in the mountains in Idaho and stuff like that so we knew how to survive we just didn’t know we would have to prep for it like this already."

Hurricane Fiona has left many families without water, power, or a place to live. Click here to learn about different ways to donate and help out the Puerto Rican community impacted by Hurricane Fiona.