KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis warned residents on his state’s Gulf Coast it was too late to evacuate.

Instead, Florida’s governor said they should remain in place and hunker down to the best of their ability as Hurricane Ian made landfall Wednesday. The National Weather Service said the storm is a Category 4 hurricane with windspeeds measuring 150 mph.

Heavy rainfall and strong sustained winds blew in south of Tampa Bay on Wednesday, threatening some native Kansas Citians, among other Florida homeowners.

Independence native Jeff Rexford hunkered down in his Cape Coral, Florida, home Wednesday afternoon. Rexford said he could feel strong winds blowing on his house and rain was beginning to collect outside. Rexford has lived in Florida since 2004, and he said battling Mother Nature never gets easier.

“It’s pretty ominous,” Rexford said. “We’ve got a lot of rain and standing water. Other than that, it’s just really windy. You can hear the wind howling. Our home is a fortress — the only thing, if the roof goes, that’s it.”

Rexford is among the many Florida residents who can’t — or won’t — evacuate their homes. Lee County, where Cape Coral sits, was in the eye of Hurricane Ian for awhile Wednesday.

Rexford explained that his area doesn’t have many roads to choose from, and as stormwater rises, those roads are becoming impassible. Meantime, Rexford and others are struggling to keep electricity and phone service.

Belton native Rick Lakey isn’t leaving Cape Coral either. Lakey and his wife, Carolyn, are anxiously watching local newscasts for weather updates and praying his condo, and those belonging to his neighbors, aren’t casualties of the storm.

“My wife and I have our suitcases packed with all of our clothes. They’ve packed clothes. They have a cat and a dog. They have food for the dogs for 3-4 days,” Lakey said.

Both of these KC-area natives FOX4 talked with grew up with Midwestern tornadoes. Lakey said the difference is while tornadoes blaze a quicker trail while causing destruction, Hurricane Ian is more sustained and the hurricane’s backside will cause problems as the storm fades. 

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