Bracing for Irma: Florida resident with ties to Milwaukee hunkers down as hurricane approaches

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MILWAUKEE -- Not everyone is evacuating for Hurricane Irma. Some are hunkering down; like one Milwaukee native living in Florida, who is now bracing for what's ahead.

At some point, people facing a looming disaster make a choice: leave or stay and try to weather the storm.

At a home near West Palm Beach, Bob Bernstein has covered his windows with shutters.

"There's propane for the barbecue, there's my air conditioner -- which works great -- which is not going to work," said Bernstein.

Since he's not on the coast, Bernstein made the decision, along with most of his neighbors, to stay.

Bob Bernstein

"The traffic's all backed up, people running out of gas, it's ridiculous and I'll be boarded up. I've been boarded up, I've been through this. Look at my roof, it's brand new," said Bernstein.

Hurricane Frances did its damage there in 2004. Irma won't be the first, but everyone knows it will be worse.

"I have flashlights, I have lots of candles, lots of batteries. We've been through this. If the power goes out, the power goes out. We've been through this the last couple times. The power went out for 19 days," said Bernstein.

The heat will make things difficult. Shuttered windows puts Bernstein's house in darkness.

"You try to find a comfortable place to lay and there is none. There is none. It gets dark around 8:00 p.m., you go to sleep and you wake up and think it's almost morning, you look at the clock and it's only like 11:00 p.m.," said Bernstein.

Trees can become a threat.

"I'm having nightmares it's going to land on my kitchen," said Bernstein. "See those trees across the street? Those were laying in the grass the last time we had a hurricane and the surface of the grass was up in the air."

The decision to stay doesn't stop the concern.

"Yeah, I'm worried. We've never seen a storm like this, never," said Bernstein.

Help from Wisconsin is on the way. We Energies says it is releasing its subcontractors from work to go to Florida. One of those companies, MJ Electric, says they have 360 workers heading towards the area with bucket trucks and materials to restore power that undoubtedly will be out.