Florida woman flees to Richmond, unsure if home survived storm

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — People fleeing Irma’s wrath had nowhere to go but north, and many of them ended up in Central Virginia.

One of them, a Naples woman who arrived in Chesterfield County on Saturday, said she has no idea if her home is still standing.

“I live in Naples, along the coast,” Joann Vegro said.

Vegro told 8News her initial plan was to ride the storm out. But once it got closer, those plans changed.

“I was going to stay and ride the storm out, I had my safe room in my closet all set up, I had non-perishable food ready that I could stay for weeks and I was prepared to do that,” she explained. “And then it became mandatory evacuation for where I live and obviously I left.”

The plan, she said, was simply to head north. But as she and a friend started out on that venture, they ran into problems.

“All of the shelters were full, all of the hotels were booked and finally the last place we went to, I asked the hotel manager if we could at least sleep in the parking lot because I couldn’t even drive anymore,” Vegro said.

As the outer bands of Irma began making their way on shore, Vegro was left to sleep in her car.

“It was very emotional, very emotional,” she said. “I never felt like I just wanted a bed to lay in so bad, it was hard.”

After very little sleep, Vegro and her friend got back on the road.

“Anywhere north,” she said of their plan. “And we wound up in Richmond.”

Now that she is safe, her thoughts have turned to her home. Vegro says she has no idea if her home is still standing or destroyed.

“I can’t get a hold of anybody to go to my house, so I don’t know,” she said.

Vegro said she plans to head back home on Tuesday, and hopes everything she owns is there to welcome her.

“It’s very hard, very hard,” she said. “On top of the last week of a total emotional roller coaster.”

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