Hurricane Irma strands Louisville tourists in Puerto Rico

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- As Hurricane Irma barrels toward Florida, Puerto Rico is feeling her strength, and the storm is preventing many tourists from returning home.

Three men from the Louisville area are among those stranded on the island until Irma passes through. Stephen Smith and two friends were supposed to fly back to Louisville on Wednesday afternoon, but their flight was canceled.

They're are riding out the storm at a hotel southwest of San Juan.

“The wind was picking up, and you could see trees kind of start to lean over,” Smith said.

They are trying to get on the next available flight, but it is unclear when that will be possible. Smith said they are well-stocked on supplies to weather the storm.

The hotel is keeping food services running and trying to find ways to entertain the guests, even with the power cutting out.

The men said the earliest they will be able to leave is Thursday night, but that depends on the damage and how quickly flights resume.

Back in Louisville, David Yarmuth with the Salvation Army is preparing to respond to Florida once they know where the hurricane will hit. The team is taking a mobile canteen to feed people in Florida.

“It is a kitchen on wheels, essentially capable of making 1,500 or 2,000 meals in a given day,” Yarmuth said.  

Jeremy Jarvi with The American Red Cross Kentucky Region office in Louisville said the organization has enough resources to help the people devastated by flooding in Texas and provide assistance following Hurricane Irma.

“We are taking resources, some folks from Harvey, shifting them to be able to support Irma, and we’re also being able to send waves of volunteers,” Jarvi said.

He said the needs in Texas are changing as people are being moved out of temporary shelters.

If you would like to help with hurricane relief efforts, you can donate through the Salvation Army or Red Cross websites. 

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