Hurricane Ian Impacts Snow Birds, Travel Agency Plans for Vacation

As Hurricane Ian made landfall Wednesday, it’s impacting those here at home, like snow birds and those planning vacations.

“It’s very scary for those people who have to be there during it,” said Connie Shepard from Cadillac.

Snow BirbsConnie, and her husband Tom, have been glued to the TV as they watch the path of Hurricane Ian.

“They’re showing Sebring now at 25 mph wind, and that’s 20 some max 30 miles south of us,” said Tom.

While the Shepard’s spend their summers in Cadillac, they spend their winters at their home in central Florida.

“We have a modular home, and we’re in a small park with 160-some homes,” said Connie. “We’ve been going 22 years.”

This isn’t the first hurricane they’ve been through, though. Their home was damaged during Hurricane Charley and Jeanne in 2004.

“The last one we went through was 130 miles per hour winds, and we had very minimal damage,” said Tom. “I fixed it myself.”

They’re concerned for their neighbors who stayed in Florida.

“You hope you don’t have damage, you hope your friends aren’t injured or anything, no devastation,” said Connie.

Travel is halted for now, but it’s the what the next couple of months are going to look like is a question for travel agencies.

“They’ve definitely looked at booking, not so much in November still, but definitely Christmas time,” said Travel Smart with Jess Travel Agency Jessica Pangborn. “I’m sure that travel will definitely be impacted for Christmas trips.”

Pangborn, out of Mesick, says the tourist industry in Florida is staying positive during this time.

“Universal, Disney, they’re looking at being reopened on Friday,” said Pangborn. “I know they’re going to have to assess that damage as the hurricane makes its way through.”

For those stuck down in Florida now, Pangborn says working through a travel agency may help to find shelter during the hurricane.

“We’re always having a ‘plan b’ and we’re always watching weather and events that may impact travel and experiences,” she said.