Iowans struggle to get in touch with loved ones in storm-hit Florida

Published: Sep. 29, 2022 at 10:27 PM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - On Thursday, some eastern Iowa families were struggling to get in communication with loved ones in Florida after Hurricane Ian made landfall.

Millions of Floridians were without power, and cell services were down for many people.

“I have been trying to get in touch with him all day,” Gwen Atty, of Hiawatha, said.

Atty said she was calling her husband, Jim, several times an hour. Jim was working to get their winter home ready in Venice, Florida. That’s located in the western part of the state where the eyewall of the storm hit.

“We did speak briefly in the morning, but I haven’t been able to reach him to find out if the house was okay,” Atty said.

Atty was able to get in touch with Jim late Thursday via text but said service was still down. She said her house had sustained some water damage but was now worried about how her other neighbors and Floridians were coming out of the storm.

“I’m just so sad everybody that’s down there,” Atty said. “I’m just truly heartbroken.”

The Iowa-Nebraska Red Cross said it had crews leaving throughout the week and had more than 700 Red Cross workers in Florida. Crews in Florida were already working to get cell service back up and running so Atty, and many others could get in touch with loved ones. In the meantime, Atty said it was family and friends that were helping to get her through this time.

“My family and friends, they’ve just been wonderful,” Atty said. “My kids and grandkids have been excellent.”