Ian hits Florida, former Milwaukee resident hunkers down

Hurricane Ian, one of the most powerful storms ever recorded in the U.S., swamped southwest Florida on Wednesday, Sept. 28, turning streets into rivers, knocking out power to 1.8 million people and threatening catastrophic damage further inland. Here in Wisconsin, we're used to preparing for a very different kind of storm. FOX6 News checked in with Phil Gerbyshak, a former Milwaukee resident now living in Florida.

FOX6 News spoke with Gerbyshak Tuesday night as he prepared for the storm. We checked in with him again Wednesday afternoon after the hurricane made landfall on the coast.

"I don’t have to bundle up," said Gerbyshak. 

Phil Gerbyshak

But there is other weather to prepare for in Florida. 

"Yeah, outside in Winter Garden, well, we’re starting to get weather here, a little precipitation," he said.

Gerbyshak, who lived in Milwaukee for 20 years, now lives inland near Orlando, not expecting the worst of Hurricane Ian to hit until overnight into Thursday.

"The grocery store, Publix closed at noon in our neighborhood, so it was a zoo," said Gerbyshak. 

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He was hunkered down on Wednesday.

"We just cleaned out under the stairwell, so we’re going to be like Harry Potter and live under the stairs for the next few days if we have to," said Gerbyshak. "We’re probably going to play some cribbage next, and I wouldn’t be from Wisconsin if I didn’t tell you I had some alcohol to enjoy."

Brad Dachelet, who lives in Green Bay, has an Airbnb rental property at his parent’s old house near Tampa.

"It’s difficult knowing I was just down there last week, and I could’ve extended my stay to stay through that," said Dachelet. "But part of me also knew I wouldn’t be able to prevent anything."

He's letting friends who have been evacuated stay at his property.

"Having friends and family that are all in that area in hits close to home," said Dachelet.

He's weathering the storm at his house in Green Bay.

"We have our winter weather and our winter storms," said Dachelet. "They have hurricanes. I’ll take winter weather."