Hurricane Ian aftermath: Chicago area natives ride out monster storm in Florida

ByChristian Piekos WLS logo
Friday, September 30, 2022
Chicagoans ride out Hurricane Ian in Florida
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Chicago-area natives who recently moved to Florida rode out monster Hurricane Ian and are now assessing the damage.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Several Chicago-area natives who now live in Florida chose to ride out Hurricane Ian, which has devastated Southwest Florida.

Pastor Jason McElwee just moved to Fort Myers from Naperville earlier this year, and now has his first Category 4 hurricane under his belt.

READ MORE: Hurricane Ian upgrades to Category 1 hurricane; death toll in Florida at 9

On the first day of cleanup after Hurricane Ian pummeled Southwest Florida, hundreds of people were rescued, many having spent hours desperately clinging to floating beds or the to

"My faith is everything and I knew the good Lord would protect us and I felt assured we would make it through," he said.

McElwee is counting his blessings after surviving the hurricane with only minor damage to his home.

"We made sure we got all of the necessary supplies, water, batteries, sandbags - we didn't know with the water or the wind. Then we boarded up the house and made sure we had perishables and things like that," he said.

RELATED: Chunk of causeway falls into sea during Hurricane Ian, cutting of Sanibel Island

Beck and Buck Baumert of Yorkville rode out the storm north of Fort Myers in Bradenton. They were also spared significant damage.

"We had a sigh of big relief and thankfulness that we were spared." BUTTED 1:26 "It looks like a tornado went through it. Lots of trees down. It looks pretty deserted. Stores are not open, grocery stores are not open," they said.

SEE THE DAMAGE: Haunting aerial images show Hurricane Ian's aftermath in Florida

The Baumerts have traveled to Florida for years but have never been through a storm like Ian.

"What it sounded like to me was a bad Chicago blizzard storm. The wind was whistling through the house," the Baumerts said.

As a pastor, McElwee said his focus is now on helping others. His church will serve as a staging area for Convoy of Hope, a nonprofit disaster relief agency.

McElwee said Convoy of Hope will begin helping Floridians reeling from the storm Friday.