He went home as Ian neared. Then he had to evacuate

FAMU student D’Andre Cassanova.
Photo courtesy: Lyneisha Lewis

Hurricane Ian was a massive, lethal and destructive Category 4 hurricane that
wreaked havoc on western Cuba. Moving forward to Florida, Gov. Ron DeSantis
issued a state-wide state of emergency and evacuation orders for potential cities
that would be affected upon Ian’s landfall.

On Monday, Sept. 26, Florida A&M and Florida State universities announced that their
campuses would be closed for the rest of the week. At that point Tallahassee was in the
storm’s path — though it never received a drop of rain after the storm took unexpected

Canceling classes gave students the opportunity to go back to their home towns for
safety measures. Some students didn’t realize they were going to have to evacuate
once they arrived home, because their families’ lived close to Ian’s deadly path.

D’Andre Cassanova, a fourth-year student from Orlando, decided to leave
Tallahassee for his family home.

Driving over 200 miles back home Cassanova returned to Orlando. He got
there in time to see his family prep the house and gathering essentials
needed for the hurricane.

“Even though I left FAMU to make sure I’m safe with my family we didn’t put
anything past Ian,” Cassanova said.

Enjoying family time waiting for the storm to pass, Casanova and his family
paid close attention to updates about the storm. On Sept. 27 Hurricane Ian
made an unexpected turn to the southeast. Casanova’s family decided to
evacuate as soon as possible to stay with relatives in Georgia.

Rebecca Cassanova, D’Andrea’s mother, said it was a close call for her family.

“Having to evacuate in a short amount of time was a challenge for my family but we
made it safely,” Rebecca Cassanova said.

According to the Center for Disaster Philanthropy, at about 3 p.m. Sept. 28,
Ian made landfall near Cayo Costa, Florida. It was a Category 4 storm with winds of 150
mph. Ian made landfall in the same area that Hurricane Charley did in 2004.

On Saturday, Oct. 1, Cassanova and his family made it back home to
discover their home in unlivable conditions. The roof was torn and destroyed
the house was flooded, leaving water damage.

“I was expecting more damages done to my house but good thing we
prepared for the worst and evacuated as soon as possible so no one was
physically hurt,” Rebecca said.

Even though the family’s home was damaged, her family safely evacuated in
time. Unfortunately, other families in that area weren’t as fortunate. Some in
their neighborhood had their houses almost completely destroyed.

According to PowerOutage.us, over 400,573 consumers in Florida were
without power as of Tuesday evening.

According to CNN,​​ as of Tuesday, at least 109 individuals had been reported
dead in the United States as a result of the hurricane, with 105 of the deaths
occurring in Florida.