Singaporean in Florida staying put

Ms Selina Seet outside her home in Florida. She has gone into lockdown mode, with her windows and patio doors boarded up by hurricane shutters.
Ms Selina Seet outside her home in Florida. She has gone into lockdown mode, with her windows and patio doors boarded up by hurricane shutters.PHOTO: COURTESY OF SELINA SEET

Singaporean Selina Seet, 45, moved to Florida from Los Angeles last June, and was almost welcomed by a hurricane.

But Hurricane Matthew suddenly veered away from Fort Lauderdale where she lives, and she could breathe a sigh of relief. The handbag designer at Selina Vaughan Studios is now preparing for a much larger storm.

Hurricane Irma, one of the most powerful Atlantic storms in a century, has already bulldozed its way through the Caribbean and is expected to hit Florida today. The authorities have urged residents to flee, but Ms Seet told The Sunday Times via Facebook last night that she is sitting tight and hoping for the best, as the hurricane is "too big to out-drive anyway".

"My place is not in the flood zone, so I'm waiting to see how it goes. The hurricane is so huge you can't outdrive it. It takes eight hours to drive out of Florida, and you may run out of petrol."

She has stocked up on canned food, water and wine, as she goes into lockdown mode. "My windows and patio doors are boarded up by hurricane shutters. I have moved my work stuff upstairs in case of flooding, and put some risers under my antique furniture. But it's a solid house with a windowless wardrobe room upstairs that I can hide in if it gets bad," she said.

Meanwhile, public health undergraduate Adya Maddox, 20, who is in Singapore on an internship, finally got to hear from her parents who live in the British Virgin Islands in the Caribbean on Friday night. "They managed to borrow someone else's phone. The networks are almost all down, and the last time I spoke to them was on Wednesday, before the storm hit," she told The Sunday Times.

TOO HUGE TO OUTDRIVE

The hurricane is so huge you can't outdrive it. It takes eight hours to drive out of Florida, and you may run out of petrol.

MS SELINA SEET, who lives in Florida, on why she is sitting tight and hoping for the best.

"Their house is not as badly hit as other buildings there, but a lot of the other buildings have been completely destroyed, with roofs gone."

Ms Maddox, an American, added: "We sometimes get storms in the Caribbean but never as bad as this. My parents received warnings, but there's only so much people can do on an island. It's hard to evacuate, and most people just stay home and stock up on supplies."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on September 10, 2017, with the headline 'Singaporean in Florida staying put'. Print Edition | Subscribe