Former East Rochester man staying put in Florida and bracing for Hurricane Ian

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. – There is a former East Rochester man bracing for Hurricane Ian to make landfall in Florida.

“Well, we’re concerned because we don’t know what’s going to happen. We keep getting new updates, watching the news right now and we’re getting all kinds of information, but still a lot of uncertainty,” John Scumaci said.

Millions are under an evacuation order as the storm approaches the Tampa Bay and Southwest Florida region. It’s likely to become a Category 4 hurricane with a combination of dangerous storm surges, flooding, and powerful winds.

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While millions are finding a way out, some are staying put. John Scumaci is a former East Rochester resident who now lives in Central Florida, he said he’s gone through one storm before, but is nervous about this one.

“Everything that they’re telling us, it’s going to come right at us,” Scumaci said.

Scumaci has been living in Palm Harbor, Florida for the past five years and is bracing for Hurricane Ian’s wrath. While state and local leaders plea for nearly 2.5 million people to evacuate, Scumaci said they were told to stay put.

“So they asked us to hunker down in our house and we put all new safety features in the house,” Scumaci said. “There are hurricane windows and doors, and we were asked to stay here to relieve some of the traffic that’s leaving.”

He said they “Hurricane proofed” the house and are as prepared as they can be.

“Anything loose outside has been taken care of and put away. Our garage is shut full and we’ve got all the hurricane doors and hurricane windows on our house and we did everything that we were told to do.”

But with preparation, comes some concern. Scumaci said it’s turning into a ghost town as many flee but said his house sits up high so they’re not too worried about flooding.

“I tried to go to the gas station yesterday. The lines were out the door,” Scumaci said. “On the way to the gym today I stopped and filled up and then I came back and filled up the other car because it was not at all like Monday.”

Scumaci said the last storm they stayed home for was a Category 2. He said that storm kept him up all night and with Ian expected to batter the state, he said all he they can do now is wait.

“We’ve done every precaution we could do and we’re just keeping our fingers crossed and hoping for the best,” Scumaci said.

Florida Governor Ron Desantis has declared a state of emergency for the entire state. Hurricane Ian is expected to make landfall on the western coast of Florida on Wednesday.