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Former Quad Citians flee Hurricane Irma before she hits

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Some former Quad Citians who live in Florida are not taking any chances with Hurricane Irma, even those who have experienced a trio of hurricanes in the past.

"This is like the mother of all storms," said former WQAD-TV anchor Miranda Khan, who now lives in Palm Beach County with husband Darrin Willhite, a former WQAD producer and Sherrard, Illinois native.

"I'm looking at the track as I'm talking to you and we're right there. It's going to go right over our house, basically," said the couple during a Skype interview on Thursday.

When they moved to the state from the Quad Cities in 2004, they experienced various effects of three back to back hurricanes in one year. Both were working in local newsrooms and covered Hurricanes Frances, Jeanne, and Ivan.

But for Irma, they are leaving. Taking their dog, cat, computer, and hitting the road north to Nashville early Friday morning. Lodging up north is at a premium, but they found a cabin outside of the city online, and are ready to head out.

"I sat in line for 20 minutes today around the corner to get gas. If we had hurricane shutters, we'd probably stick it out, but without shutters, there's no point in staying here four days in the dark," said Willhite.

Supplies in Palm Beach County have been limited, and in some cases, stores have run out of provisions like water and batteries.

"There was a huge drive here (for Hurricane Harvey victims), so a lot of people bought up those supplies," said Khan.

"The running joke going around is about seeing if we could ask Texas for our supplies back," said Willhite.

Another former Quad City couple is already on the road, headed out of Bradenton on the west coast to a relative's home in Dallas.

Kathy and Mark Biscontine have never been through a hurricane, and certainly are not going to experiment with Irma.

"I don't want to see one up close and  personal. We shuttered up our house and did everything possible and hit the road. It wasn't worth it to stick around, " said Kathy, a retired social worker for DHS in Iowa.

Currently on the road in Mississippi, it was a long trek out of Florida.

"I-75 was just short of a parking lot. It took us 5-and-a-half hours to get from our hose to Ocala which is normally 2-and-a-half hours," said Mark, who retired from the Rock Island County Sheriff's Department.

The two just returned from a 6-week stay in the Quad Cities to welcome another grand-child.

Now they're on the road again.

"It took us until midnight to find a hotel last night in the Panhandle. We just want to say hi, hi to everybody. We're fine."




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