Holidaymakers’ hurricane hell in Florida
Worried local holidaymakers were put on lockdown in Florida as devastating Hurricane Irma battered the state.
Deadly Irma — one of the worst storms ever recorded — has killed 38 and forced more than six million people to flee for their lives.
The category four hurricane hit the sunshine state on Sunday, tearing through towns and cities with winds of 120mph and ferocious storm surges.
Balloch sisters Abby, 20, and Lauren Crichton, 23, were forced to hide out in their Disney World Orlando resort for 24 hours as the horror storm hit.
Parks closed and holidaymakers were told it wasn’t safe to go outside.
The Kane family from Alexandria were also caught up in the drama and given “hurricane packs” and told to wait out the battering wind and rain from their Orlando hotel room.
Devastating Hurricane Irma smashed its way through the main tourist areas of Florida causing chaos for holidaymakers from Dumbarton, the Vale and Helensburgh.
The most ferocious hurricane in history to hit the south-eastern state claimed the lives of six people – and three in Georgia and one in South Carolina – as it left a trail of destruction in its wake.
The category four storm made its way to the United States of America after wreaking havoc on a host of picturesque Caribbean islands popular with holidaymakers leaving 38 people dead including 10 fatalities in Cuba.
At its most fierce, the storm brought winds of 120mph.
Abby Crichton, 20, and her 23-year-old sister Lauren were enjoying a two-week holiday in Disney World when the powerful hurricane struck on Monday.
The Balloch sisters were forced to hide in their hotel room and stock up on food from the hotel gift shop during the worst of the devastating storm.
They are due to fly back to Glasgow tomorrow (Thursday), and described their resort as a “ghost town” following intense high winds and rain.
Speaking to the Lennox Herald from their hotel room in the Disney All Star Music resort on Monday, Abby said: “The news hasn’t been off our TV.
“There has been a curfew in the county and no-one has been allowed out of their hotel. The news channel told us that the hurricane had changed direction and the eye of it was pretty much going to hit us and the wind and rain started getting really strong.
“We never really got much sleep, the noise of the wind was so loud. Outside we
could see that the ground was completely covered in water.
“Being two young girls away from home without parents we were pretty scared about being in the hotel room alone whilst the storm was going on.
“Our parents were constantly on the phone, not sleeping because they were so worried.”
Abby told how the hotel was “crazy” just before the worst of the weather struck as everyone was told to stock up on food and water.
She continued: “Everyone was clearly in panic mode and running about crazy trying to prepare.
“We had to stay away from windows in case trees fell on them.
“After the curfew was set the hotel was like a ghost town as everyone was stuck in their rooms.
“Now that the storm has passed, everyone is wandering about to see what damage has been done.
“The storm left such a mess outside, there were trees on the ground and pretty much all of the ground was covered in branches and muck.”
Lorraine Mason from Helensburgh was staying in the Clermont area of Orlando in a villa with parents Jim and Ann Mason who were celebrating their Golden Wedding anniversary.
Speaking on Monday after the worst of the weather, she said: “There are just a few trees down and a bit of netting round the pool has came off. It’s just really windy now but the sun is out.”
The main parks at Disney World reopened yesterday (Tuesday) however the water parks remain closed until later this week.
Some 6.3million people, which accounts for more than a quarter of the population of Florida, were ordered to evacuate late last week and are now facing the harrowing task of returning home to find the extent of the damage to their properties.
Officials in the state have been left counting the cost of the damage which is expected to be up to $50 billion.
The National Hurricane Center confirmed on Monday the storm was downgraded as it moved north towards Atlanta, Georgia.
Our parents were constantly on the phone, not sleeping because they were so worried Abby Crichton
Disney trip Abby and Lauren Power of nature Hurricane Irma batters the coastline as winds of up to 120mph cause carnage across Florida (below)
Mayhem in the Magic Kingdom Lauren, 23, and Abby Crichton, 20, from Balloch, in Florida during Hurricane Irma. Below are pictures of their resort in Disney after the storm hit on Monday
Irma Jim and Ann Mason from Helensburgh with daughter Lorraine Mason celebrating their 50th anniversary in Florida
Apocalypse now Scenes of devastation caused by Hurricane Irma