NewsLocal NewsLee County


Concerns loom for Southwest Florida families with loved ones in Puerto Rico

Hurricane Fiona made landfall over the island, leaving residents without power
Puerto Rico
Posted at 7:16 PM, Sep 18, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-19 04:11:18-04

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Families in Southwest Florida are growing concerned as Hurricane Fiona makes landfall over Puerto Rico. Power is out on the island and some cell towers are starting to go down.

Shartiza Lopez-Rodriguez lives in Fort Myers, but her dad, brother and other family members live in Puerto Rico.

"My dad is 86, so he’s a little more resilient, so he’s like I have lamps right now because the power’s off," she explained. "For me it’s that concern of even the aftermath, how long will it take. Maria was a place with gas shortages, there was so much happening so it does make you nervous.

Lopez-Rodriguez says some of the concerns she has comes back to Hurricane Maria in 2017.

"When we think of community I tell people that’s my tri-state still," she said. "I’m here, but there’s still that connection of either concerns, resources too."

Lopez-Rodriguez is referring back to Hurricane Maria where the Category 5 storm ripped through the island. She says the island is still trying to recover.

"The last time I went there traveling to where I’m from, you still saw the remnants of Maria," Lopez-Rodriguez said. "You still saw signs broken, lights that were not working, so there’s still trying to make up since 2017 in terms of repairs and getting up to date."

Even though Hurricane Fiona is only a Category 1 as of Sunday afternoon, Lopez-Rodriguez says with the infrastructure it could be devastating.

"I think Maria was an eye-opener to see that there was a lack of preparation, so I think that’s what we need to be aware about," she said.

At this moment, all families can do is wait out the storm, but Lopez-Rodriguez says to reach out to people if you need help to cope.