Locals, now living in Florida, brace for Hurricane Matthew

Two Howland graduates living in Miami and another local woman now living in West Palm Beach are preparing for the Category 4 storm

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – People from the Youngstown area who now live in Florida are preparing for a direct hit from Hurricane Matthew, a Category 4 storm that’s starting to batter the east coast.

Aliya Howard lives in West Palm Beach and says her neighborhood is getting ready for Matthew. She has hurricane shutters over her windows to protect them.

Aliya Howard, who now lives in Florida, is bracing for Hurricane Matthew.
Aliya Howard, originally from the Youngstown area

“You can hear the power tools going on out there, the last minute preparations,” she said.

Howard’s family stocked up on food and water earlier in the week, so they are prepared. They’ll be waiting out the storm that could produce winds over 100 miles per hour once it makes landfall in Florida.

“Getting nervous. Trying to keep myself busy until it hits later tonight,” she said.

Howland High School graduates Ryan Divens and Tim Parana live in Miami Beach, a city expected to be hit with the outer bands of the storm. Both recently moved to Florida, and this will be their first hurricane experience.

“I don’t really know what to expect. How crazy are these winds going to be and just how much rain there’s going to be,” Divens said.

Parana says everyone around them is boarded up and bracing themselves.

“All these buildings have hurricane shutters up so you almost see no visible windows from these buildings.”

Ryan Divens and Tim Parana, Howland High graduates, are now in Florida getting ready for Hurricane Matthew.
Ryan Divens and Tim Parana, Howland High graduates

Miami Beach is under a voluntary evacuation. It’s 70 miles south of Howard’s home in Palm Beach County, where there’s a mandatory evacuation.

Florida Governor Rick Scott said people living in evacuation zones need to get out now, but Howard says her family feels prepared.

“We’d rather be here for the house if anything were to happen, so we feel like we’re ready to take this on.”

Many Florida airports, including Miami and Fort Lauderdale, are closed. Orlando’s airport will close later on Thursday. The closures are stranding many vacationers in their hotel rooms.