In Irma’s wake, Valley natives prepare for major cleanup

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – Some Mahoning Valley natives who now call Florida home say it’s going to take a while to bounce back after Hurricane Irma’s damage to their communities.

Much of Florida is still without power and internet as Irma continues north, now weakened to a tropical storm.

The high winds whipped trees in Ray Mashorda’s yard in Pompano Beach, close to Fort Lauderdale.

Mashorda ran a longtime garden store in Austintown before it closed last summer.

He said his neighborhood doesn’t have power but that they were still pretty lucky, with only the storm’s outer bands hitting the city.

“Last night, I ventured out around 9:00 and I was trying to drive out of the neighborhood and there were just trees down everywhere — monster trees.”

Pompano Beach dealt with wind speeds around 100 miles per hour, which ripped roots right out of the ground and took off the tops of palm trees.

Ryan Divens said there are palm tree branches everywhere on the streets.

Floridians who live in the central and southern parts of the state have yet to return home, including Divens and Tim Parana — two Howland High School graduates who now live in Miami.

They were evacuated to Fort Lauderdale during the hurricane.

“Not nervous. More so curious to see what it’s all like because we’re not allowed to go there until tomorrow,” Parana said.

Kassandra Ross, who was born in Youngstown but now lives in Cocoa Beach along the east coast, said there wasn’t a lot of flooding in her area. She’s still anxious to see the damage, though.

“I don’t know what my house looks like because I live across the street from the beach.”

Ross said she stayed with her parents in a nearby town during the storm.

“It’s gonna take a lot to get back and going.”

CBS reported that officials asked 7 million people to evacuate from their homes, including 6.4 million in Florida. Places like the Florida Keys, which were hit the hardest, were said to look like war zones on Monday.