PUERTO RICO – When the Anderson family left their Atlanta home on Sept. 17, they were looking forward to some quality time, relaxation on the beach and fun in the sun.
And Jessica Anderson wasn’t going to let fear stand in her family’s way.
“I didn’t know how big of a deal it was going to be. I’m a firm believer of not living in fear. And not letting fear stop me from not doing anything. So, we already bought the tickets.”
“Maria,” however, would have a different idea in mind.
The hurricane dubbed as Maria, which followed already-devastating Irma and Harvey, blasted Puerto Rico last week.
Nearly a dozen people have died as the result of Hurricane Maria—the strongest storm to hit the island since 1928.
Jessica, 33, and her husband 32-year-old Isaac, took their two children Jizelle, 10, and Isaiah, 12, to visit their aunt.
“The kids were on fall break, so they had a week off school. My sister-in-law lives here, so we were going to visit her,” Jessica said via FaceTime from Puerto Rico.
But the gusts of wind and torrential downpour pummeled the area that they were staying in and pushed them to move into San Juan. Jessica’s sister-in-law’s home was inhabitable and flooded with six feet of water in some places.
“It was really scary because of all the wind noises and things that were going everywhere. It wasn’t like anything was going to happen,” Jizelle said.
Her dad feels fortunate that his family is safe.
“We’re really lucky that the water didn’t come on our street. If we were one street over, this interview would be a lot different,” Isaac said.
At this point, the family who was supposed to return this weekend, is stuck 1,500 miles away from home.
While the airport is still in bad shape and the airline keeps pushing back their travel date, Jessica is optimistic that they will be flying back to Atlanta on Oct. 3.
“We will be OK. Eventually we’ll get out. We’re really sad for the people who don’t have anywhere to go home to,” Jessica said.