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'This is all new stuff for us': St. Louis area natives living in Florida brace for Hurricane Ian

It's the first hurricane Kirby Rhines will experience since moving in June.

ST. LOUIS — University City native Valerie Hyman has lived in Tampa for 30 years. She moved to the area for a job.

She's seen her fair share of hurricanes and tropical storms.

"I evacuated once before," Hyman said. 

However this time, storm surge predictions are as much as 10 feet.

"My home is six feet above sea level. I have 45 windows in my house," she said.

This is pushing her to evacuate, but not without leaving with some valuables.

"I have the things that mean the most to me and I have the oldest photos that I have," she said. "The family ones mean the most and are irreplaceable."

Not too far from her is Scott Miller, who's lived in Florida for 23 years and works at Hillsboro Community College as a professor.

"The college I work for closed the whole week," he said.

He plans to stay put but has boarded up, along with bringing in all his gardening supplies.

"This whole summer I said, 'I should get a generator,' and of course, I didn't. Hopefully I won't lose power for too long," Miller said. 

Miller said he is praying for some positivity.

"Tampa hasn't had a direct hit in over 100 years and we know our good luck will be up at some point," he said. 

Shiloh, Illinois, native Kirby Rhines isn't leaving either.

He lives in Rotonda West, which is south of Tampa.

"We boarded up. We got batteries, candles and an electric radio because we are going to try and ride it out," Rhines said.

It's the first hurricane he's experienced since moving in June.

"This is all new stuff for us. Right now it looks like it will be very close to us," he said.

This will be a different type of storm.

"Being in Shiloh, we had tornadoes and ice storms that knocked out power in the early 80s for a week," he said.

But just like everyone else, he only hopes for the best.

"It's going to be tough down here but we are hoping, all and all, things go OK," he said.

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