KOLR10 Anchor Jenifer Abreu spoke to her family in the Florida area about their experience with Hurricane Ian. This is their story.

Springfield, Mo. — As recovery and rebuilding efforts continue, people who live in southwest Florida are now cleaning up. You might know someone who lives or visits the areas impacted by Hurricane Ian.

That was the case for me. I spoke to my sister about her experience during the hurricane and her family’s journey out of the state as power and water are still being restored there.

Jessica Abreu was in Fort Myers when Ian hit. Although her family’s house was spared of any real damage, she says that the hardest things to see are the hardships their neighbors are experiencing and the damage done to their favorite places to visit, including Sanibel Island.

“It’s just a perfect place and it makes you sad not knowing when you will be able to go back,” Jessica told me over a video conference call from a hotel room in Georgia.

Her children, Skye and Sebastian, grew up going to Sanibel Island.

“Making friends, making sand castles and digging holes in the sand, filling them up with water and jumping in them,” Sebastien said, reminiscing about his favorite things to do in the area.

Their last trip to Sanibel Island in early September turned out to be the last one in a while, as rebuilding after the hurricane begins.

Jessica left her house in Ft. Myers to wait out the hurricane with friends in Bonita Springs.

“It made a big difference, just the location where you’re at,” she said.

They were only six miles from the beach there, but there was no flooding. However, they lost power and internet for about a day.

“We didn’t know what was going on,” Jessica said. “People called us and told us ‘this is what we’re seeing on TV right now.”

When she drove back to their house in Ft. Myers, she says she felt lucky to find minor damage.

“Just trees and branches around the house that needs to be cleaned. It’s almost like we were put in a little bubble and nothing happened. We were so lucky,” she said.

Her neighbors saw some damage to their boat docks. A mailbox ended up in their driveway. And other neighbors around the neighborhood — especially those closer to the open ocean — saw more damage and flooding inside their homes.

“It’s sad driving around the neighborhood and seeing everybody, you know, just dragging stuff out of their house, soaking wet, like pretty much all their furniture,” she said. “Stuff they worked for all their life. It’s now all gone.”

With no power or water at the house, they made their way back to Kentucky seeing long lines at gas stations and some people running out of gas.

Flooding impacted traffic, as a bridge on Interstate 75 was closed, leading traffic to a detour. Those roads were also flooded.

Jessica said I-75 heading into Florida was also backed up and saw lots of supply and utility trucks and emergency vehicles.

“It makes you happy to see how fast they are putting everything together to help,” she said.