NI-based journalist seeks refuge from Hurricane Irma in closet with mother

Joyce Ferder Rankin (right) and his mother Marlene
Joyce Ferder Rankin (right) and his mother Marlene

An American journalist who has made Northern Ireland her home has told how she and her mother have sought refuge in a wardrobe as Hurricane Irma batters their home in Florida.

Joyce Ferder Rankin who lives in Portballintrae has been at her mother’s home in Delray Beach in Florida since Thursday and has not been outside since Friday having stocked up on supplies ahead of the hurricane.

Debris is strewn across a normally busy street in South Beach as Hurricane Irma passes by, Sunday, Sept. 10, 2017, in Miami Beach, Fla. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

Debris is strewn across a normally busy street in South Beach as Hurricane Irma passes by, Sunday, Sept. 10, 2017, in Miami Beach, Fla. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

Speaking to the News Letter yesterday morning she said: “We’ve still no power and there’s lot of rain and wind but it’s much better than yesterday. We didn’t get the eye – my aunt and uncle in Naples have lost everything – but Delray Beach was still badly hit.

“There was a five hour stint where every time you thought it was over and left the safe room, the warning would come back on and you’d go running back in. My mother has a very good sized walk-in closet. That’s what we’ve been using as our safe room when we get the warnings.

“At least one tornado came past the house. It was like a freight train going on and on for about an hour. It was just horrifying. I was just waiting for the walls to blow in.

“I haven’t been out since Friday afternoon, but I know that we’ve lost the porch area at the back of the house. We heard that go. Trees are down everywhere.”

As a journalist Ms Ferder Rankin is currently working on a feature-length documentary on climate change.