Hurricane Irma has Ohioan stuck in Florida ‘freaking out’

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Combined ShapeCaption
Beavercreek woman stuck in Tampa prepares for Hurricane Irma

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

For an Ohioan stuck in Florida and in the path of Hurricane Irma, Keeley Harding is "freaking out" and very overwhelmed.

The pediatric nurse practitioner from Beavercreek Twp. flew to Bradenton, south of Tampa, to be with her mother and brother, who cannot travel because of medical issues.

ExploreSEE: The latest on Hurricane Irma

Harding's mother was discharged Thursday after surgery and her brother is on disability from the Air Force.

"We're basically stuck here," Harding told News Center 7's James Buechele in a phone interview earlier Thursday. "We've identified our evacuation areas. There's a school up the street. Hopefully, we're going to stay here."

VIDEO: Track Hurricane Irma

It's not like Harding hasn't tried to wrest her mother and brother from Hurricane Irma's path (the category 5 storm is likely to reach southern Florida this weekend). Airline tickets are going for as much as $2,000 or more -- for a one-way flight, she said. And driving a rental back to Ohio isn't an option because riding in a vehicle for such a long trip would mean a lot of stops.

"She's in a lot of pain," Harding said her mother has reported to her.

Harding has had the support of her nephew, Kyle, who drove from Houston -- where flooding from Hurricane Harvey forced him to the roof of his home -- to Bradenton.

"Got to take care of family," Kyle said. He didn't hesitate to come to Florida for his dad, aunt and grandmother despite leaving his home, vehicles, clothes and other personal property under water.

"It is what it is," he said. "You can't do much about it."

Combined ShapeCaption
Keeley Harding's nephew, Kyle, snapped this photo from the roof of his home in Houston, where Hurricane Harvey left his home, vehicles and belongs under water. (Courtesy/Keeley Harding)

Keeley Harding's nephew, Kyle, snapped this photo from the roof of his home in Houston, where Hurricane Harvey left his home, vehicles and belongs under water. (Courtesy/Keeley Harding)

Combined ShapeCaption
Keeley Harding's nephew, Kyle, snapped this photo from the roof of his home in Houston, where Hurricane Harvey left his home, vehicles and belongs under water. (Courtesy/Keeley Harding)

Kyle said he's leaving Florida on Friday to make his way back to his soggy reality in Texas.

Harding, meanwhile, is hunkering down with her brother and mother. She has been able to get water from a local Walmart -- at 4 a.m. on the advice of people who told her there would be rioting for such items during the day.

RELATED: Jose, Katia now classified as hurricanes

Harding said she tried to order "survival stuff" through Amazon, but there's no guarantee it will arrive in time.

At least her mother, who has lived in Florida since 1988, has experienced tropical storms and hurricanes, Harding said.

But Harding, who has never been through anything like a hurricane, said long lines at gas stations, empty store shelves and the prospect of dealing with 100 mph+ winds have her feeling overwhelmed.

"I'm freaking out," Harding said. "I'm scared. I don't know what to expect."

GOT A TIP? Call our monitored 24-hour line, 937-259-2237, or send it to newsdesk@cmgohio.com

About the Author