‘Massive and destructive and traumatic:’ Ohio family recounts Hurricane Irma in the Caribbean

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BRITISH VIRGIN ISLANDS - An Ohio family who moved to the Caribbean is telling a harrowing story about riding out Hurricane Irma. They moved from the Toledo area in July of 2015.

"It was just massive and destructive and traumatic," said Terri Leary.

Leary recalls the tense moments when Hurricane Irma ripped through the Caribbean island of St. John. She and her family moved there from the Toledo area about two years ago to open a small business - she called it a working retirement. She says the entire island prepared for Irma's arrival, but the storm's power was more than she and her family expected. Terri says the family business fared pretty well, but their home did not.

"During the storm our glass sliding window blew out in the midst of the storm, which meant for the duration, the wind and the rain just constantly circled throughout our home and we hunkered down in the bathroom just to be safe," she said.

Fortunately, Terri and her family were able to get off the island and make it to St. Croix, where they will stay for several days.

"There was a small private boat that pulled up to the docks. The National Park Service on St. John were taking some folks off the island and they were gracious enough to have us as passengers, so we took the four-hour boat ride across the seas on Saturday night and made it to St. Croix,said Leary.

Terri says her family is still shell-shocked and they just want to return back to Ohio to regroup.

"We lost our home down here, we don't have a home up there, so we're not sure what to do. We know we still have our business down here, so that's something my husband and I will have to talk about," she said.

Despite the trauma of riding out the storm, Terri says she is still counting her blessings.

We're safe, we're alive and we're together," said Leary.

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