Former WCAX News Anchor Judy Simpson forced to flee her Florida home ahead of Ian

Published: Sep. 28, 2022 at 4:58 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 28, 2022 at 7:23 PM EDT
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WINTER HAVEN, Fla. (WCAX) - After anchoring and reporting for WCAX News for 20 years, our colleague and friend Judy Simpson left TV news for Florida, where she was forced to evacuate on Wednesday ahead of Hurricane Ian.

She and her husband and their beloved dogs now live in Cape Coral, southwest of Fort Myers.

But with a storm surge of 18 feet predicted at their home-- which is one story and only 3 feet above sea level-- they decided they had to go. So at 8:10 a.m. Wednesday, they fled their home, making their way 115 miles northeast to Winter Haven.

Our Darren Perron spoke with Judy from her hotel room there.

“It’s horrible, feeling nauseous for the past three days not knowing what’s going to happen. Do we stay? Do we go? Do we have everything we need? We’ve got our shutters up, there should be no problem and then it just kept going downhill. You’re either all in and then you have to deal with the consequences, or just try to get out,” Judy said.

She said she’s not yet sure when they will be able to return home.

“We have no idea what the situation at our house is or if we can even get to our house, and then what do we do?” she said. “Never underestimate how strong these storms can be and how powerful and scary on so many levels. And if you call 911, no one can come because it’s too dangerous to go out. And then I thought how great it would be to just have a good old-fashioned nor’easter instead of a hurricane.”

Judy said they had prepared a hurricane kit with food water and other supplies but decided they couldn’t chance staying.