Cou­ple flee Hur­ri­cane Irma

Hol­i­day­mak­ers hit by or­deal on Florida trip

Ayrshire Post - - FRONT PAGE - Stu­art Wil­son

A ter­ri­fied cou­ple’s dream an­niver­sary trip turned to hor­ror as they faced the might of Hur­ri­cane Irma.

Graeme Warnock and wife Ally were forced to ride out the mon­ster storm af­ter be­ing bar­ri­caded in their Florida ho­tel.

The Al­loway pair were hol­i­day­ing in down­town Or­lando when the deadly weather crashed ashore.

Mar­ket­ing ex­ec­u­tive Graeme, 31, said: “We were put on a 24- hour cur­few be­tween Sun­day and Mon­day night.

“It did a lot of dam­age in terms of tree branches com­ing down but thank­fully where we were seemed to es­cape the worst.

“The news had been full of warn­ings when it was a cat­e­gory four and five storm ap­proach­ing the Miami coast.

“But luck­ily it lost strength on its way to us and we seemed to with­stand things rel­a­tively well.”

And another fam­ily told how they were evac­u­ated from their re­sort – with just HOURS to spare.

South Ayr­shire Coun­cil ad­min worker Fraser Wat­son, 22, faced a race against time to head for safety with mum Bernie and dad Craig. Fraser, of May­bole, said: “We were stay­ing down in Clear­wa­ter which was in line to be hit hard.

“We knew some­thing was up as early as last Wed­nes­day when the ho­tel staff were clear­ing up sun loungers around us.

“We then got a let­ter through the door with a manda­tory evac­u­a­tion or­der from the state gov­er­nor.”

Bernie, 52, a sales man­ager at Deben­hams in Ayr, said: “The staff were pan­ick­ing – you could see it in their faces.

“They had never been through a storm that was go­ing to be that big and they didn’t re­ally know what to do.

“We were ter­ri­fied we’d be stranded out­side the ho­tel if taxis re­fused to do the two- hour drive to Or­lando.

“But thank­fully we found some­one who would and man­aged to get petrol on the jour­ney.

“We made it out of Or­lando with four hours to spare be­fore the air­port shut.

“Peo­ple ask if we were scared but I just say ‘ what’s for you won’t go by you.”

Prest­wick woman Hilda Smith has blasted the UK gov­ern­ment for fail­ing to bring home her fam­ily from the bat­tered Caribbean.

Brother Robert and sis­ter- in- law Les­ley have been un­able to get off the Dutch colony of St Maarten.

Hilda said: “Mil­i­tary planes have been go­ing out not full but they’re say­ing they don’t have per­mis­sion to take them.”

For­mer Marr Rugby player Thomas Gaunt saw his home and kite- surf­ing busi­ness de­stroyed in the Bri­tish Vir­gin Is­lands.

Evac­u­ated Fraser and mum Bernie were flown to safety Dev­as­ta­tion Bat­tered houses in the af­ter­math of Hur­ri­cane Irma in Florida

Hide­out Graeme and Ally

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