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'This has been an awful day' | Devastated by hurricane, Minnesotans react to living in Fort Myers

One fire department in Fort Myers said it has conducted more than 200 water rescues.

FORT MYERS, Fla. — For some Minnesotans living in Florida, Hurricane Ian is the first hurricane they've ever experienced.

And one couple from Lino Lakes just found out their house, in the hard hit city of Fort Myers, is a total loss. 

"It is a catastrophe," said Linda Kieger, who lives in the area with her husband, Dan, for part of the year.

"It wasn't just Fort Myers Beach, it's not just certain areas, the state is in very dire need of help," said Kieger, who moved to Florida in 2019.

About 160 miles away in Winter Park, near Orlando, another Minnesotan is battling wind and rain still battering that area. 

"I've just never seen or experienced so much water in my life," said Krista Kretman, who moved to Florida from Prior Lake two years ago. 

She says officials issued a curfew, while neighbor kids kayaked down the street. Thirteen inches of rain fell overnight, overflowing the lake behind her house, pouring onto sidewalks and covering picnic tables.

"Instead of a snowstorm and playing in snow, you go play in the rain," said Kretman. "With it being so high, the water moccasins and alligators are going to come out and up through streets and that's definitely a fear." 

Kretman says a local man, who was draining his pool, fell down a ravine and drowned. On Thursday, President Joe Biden said that the loss of life will be "substantial". 

"We're just breathing a bit of a sigh of relief, we're not out of the woods yet, but I think hearing locally these freshwater casualties is what's really sad," said Kretman.

One fire department in Fort Myers reports making more than 200 water rescues and those efforts are continuing.

"We've always called it paradise," said Kieger. "Our paradise, and many other Floridians, are just devastated."

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