Millions of Floridians, especially in the southern part of the state, were given evacuation orders in advance of Hurricane Irma’s arrival, but Miami financial adviser Zak Mann decided to stay put.
His friend Loni Paige is staying with him at his apartment in Miami’s Brickell neighborhood — a downtown area dotted with gleaming business towers and luxury condos — because the buildings there are newly constructed so he presumes they would fare well during a monster storm like Irma, Mann, 37, told ABC News.
Mann also balked at evacuating because he was concerned that Irma would move north through Florida along the same route that evacuees were taking to flee. Conversely, he also wasn’t too enthused about the return to South Florida following an evacuation because of the gridlock that would undoubtedly clog freeways across the state.
Armed with supplies for a couple weeks, including coolers filled with ice and a small generator, Mann and Paige are ready to take on Irma.
Below, Mann documents his stay for ABC News. His diary will be continually updated.
Sunday, 2 p.m.
On Sunday in Miami, winds whipped around high-rise buildings at speeds approaching 100 mph, the National Weather Service said. A 94 mph wind gust was recorded at Miami International Airport.
The powerful winds are shaking glass window panes, Mann said.
The wind has really picked up. … The pressure is forcing water in through the balcony doors and they are rattling every so often with the bigger gusts. It is still very flooded outside … can barely see out these windows anymore. We’re getting the brunt of it now, it seems. Stay safe everyone!
Sunday, 11:45 a.m.
Irma is showing her strength now. Very strong gusts of wind. The streets are flooded up to the newspaper stands. You have a broken window at the JW Marriott with the curtains flying out of it. There is small pieces of debris flying through the air….
Sunday, 8:30 a.m.
Mann said eating, Netflix and Jenga are keeping him occupied.
Very strong gusts of wind. Can occasionally hear something cracking or breaking off a building. The streets are pretty empty, but there’s no major flooding, just a lot of rain and heavy winds.
Saturday, 7:30 p.m.
Conditions have gotten exponentially worse. Very strong gusts of wind, a lot more rain. You hear cracking of some trees and you see everything swaying around the street level. Be safe everyone!
Saturday, 4:30 p.m.
Heavy rains and wind gusts pummel Miami.
Saturday, 3 p.m.
Conditions have improved. Hasn’t rained in 30 to 45 minutes and wind gusts have lightened up.
Saturday, 12 p.m.
This is the pseudo-calm before the storm. Wind gusts have started picking up. You can see the trees swaying. Very few people are left.