Irish mum terrified her house will collapse as hurricane hits her city
An Irish mother living in Florida said she is terrified her house will collapse as Hurricane Irma batters the state.
Mairead O'Higgins, originally from Rathgar in Dublin and now living in Sarasota on the state's west coast, last night told how the city had been expected to be hit by the tail end of Irma, but they were now facing a brush with the powerful eye.
"It's awful, absolutely awful, we're just waiting and not knowing what could happen, that's the worst part.
"We haven't got a storm shelter so we've taken the internal doors down and have put them up against the windows.
"We know the windows will blow out but I just hope that the complex doesn't collapse into itself," she said.
Ms O'Higgins and her three children moved to Florida a year ago and are experiencing their first hurricane.
She said: "It's very scary, a lot of people tried to evacuate but were unable to get out because the roads are so filled.
"There's also a shortage of gas and people are afraid of running out on the highway.
"We thought we were just going to get the residual of Irma but now we're in the eye, Sarasota has been divided into four zones and, thankfully, we're in Zone D, which will be the least affected."
Ms O'Higgins said: "Nobody here has ever experienced anything of this magnitude, we're watching the weather and it's scary beyond belief."
Sarasota is among nine counties in Florida that have been designated disaster areas.