North Texan with home in Florida rides out Hurricane Ian; Texas groups ready to help with aftermath

Hurricane Ian has already dumped several inches of rain on the western coast of Florida.

A Coppell resident who has a second home in Naples, Florida decided to ride out the storm.

Kim Clark said her garage had three feet of water inside, and the water was inches away from their elevated front door.

"I feel pretty safe in this house, built three years ago, made of concrete, roof of metal, high elevation," said Clark.

Clark has a dual residence in Coppell and Naples, where she spoke to FOX 4 by Zoom Wednesday morning.

"[Tuesday], it turned, but too late to make provision to get out," she said.

And there were few provisions left in stores Tuesday.

"Grocery stores packed with people, empty with supplies," Clark said. "ACE had no batteries, rationing wires, people using mulch bags instead of sandbags."

Clark has been through several Category 3 hurricanes, but overnight, Hurricane Ian strengthened and reached Category 4 by landfall.

"Waking up this morning and hearing that [it was a Category 4 hurricane], it was pretty nervous. Category 3 is kind of manageable," she said. "The lights are flickering right now, we're getting close."

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Texas and several other states are sending mutual aid.

Jeff Saunders, with Texas A&M Task Force 1, said the team is standing by to begin search and rescue efforts when FEMA calls. 

"All of our personnel have all of their required training, and all of our tools and equipment are ready to go in literally a moments' notice.  [Tuesday] morning, at 6 a.m., FEMA called us and activated the team of 45 personnel," he said.

Task Force 1, which includes firefighters from North Texas, is in the Florida panhandle awaiting their assignment. 

"All of our members are volunteers on our team. That means they train, all the training hours that they do and all the preparedness they do is on their own time," Saunders explained.

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Saunders talked about the unusual strength of Hurricane Ian.

"Overnight, it actually completely regenerated the eye wall. Which is significant, and now they're predicting anywhere from 12 to 18-foot storm surge. All of that is going to prevent water from coming down he said. "It's going to be water from both directions and will mean quite a bit of inland flooding."

Task Force 1 will be able to conduct search and rescue from both land and water. 

"[They are] 100% prepared. They're, I guess, itching for a fight would be a good way to do it. They are ready to go and ready to help, and do the most good in the least amount of time," he added.