'Florida initiation card': Former Kentuckians survive fifth strongest hurricane in U.S. history

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Posted at 4:10 PM, Sep 29, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-29 18:48:21-04

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — Most of the former Kentuckians we’ve been keeping tabs on as Hurricane Ian approached landfall on Wednesday were lucky to avoid the brunt of the storm.

“Some big trees knocked down. We’ve had lamp posts shatter and bend over like blades of grass,” said Jennifer Hoover, before acknowledging that other parts of the state are in much worse condition.

Ian made landfall as a category four hurricane (five is the strongest), and it was recorded as the 5th strongest hurricane to reach U.S. soil on record. President Joe Biden said he believes it could ultimately be America’s deadliest Hurricane. Coastal towns like, Naples and Ft. Myers were ravaged by the strong winds, heavy rain and storm surge from the Gulf.

“This is my Florida initiation card right here,” said Max Winebrenner.

Max moved from Lexington to Ft. Myers just a few weeks ago to take a job with Hertz Arena. It is now being used as a shelter. It has two working toilets, no running water and was needed by as many as 1,000 people last night.

“We’ve been asking people to use buckets if they really have to go. We’re not keeping people here, they’re free to come and go, but for the most part those that are here don’t have anywhere to go,” he said.

Max said his move to this part of Florida only weeks ago had to be for a reason, and he’ll view it as an opportunity to help. That’s what Jennifer said her neighbors are doing today up and down the street.

“There were posts saying, ‘hey this is where we live, we’re making breakfast. Or we have a hot shower for you, if you need it come on over,’” she explained.