SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV)– As Hurricane Ian inches closer to making landfall in the Sunshine State thousands of people are evacuating their homes including many Central New York natives. 

John and Tammy Serrao were born and raised in Syracuse, but after John served nearly 25 years with the Syracuse Police Department they decided to retire in Bradenton, Florida just 40 minutes south of Tampa.

Now they’re being forced out of their home after local law enforcement came to each home in their neighborhood to inform them of a mandatory evacuation.

“Once they said zone A had to evacuate we were gonna have to leave,”

John Serrao, Syracuse native living in Florida

Before leaving they tried to hunker down as much of their property as possible, moving patio furniture and potted plants inside. Once they left they were stuck in traffic for hours heading to the only hotel they could find two hours inland.

A similar experience happened to Cicero native Bonnie Altier who’s lived in Florida for the past six years but just moved to her new home on Treasure Island three months ago.

“It’s a little intimidating since being down there just a short period of time and not having all the supplies that we need,”

Bonnie Altier, Cicero native living in Florida

Luckily she was able to drive an hour north out of the mandatory evacuation zone to stay with her daughter while her husband finished preparing their house for the storm. He plans to leave the island Wednesday morning before the bridges close so they can wait out the storm together.

As for the Serrao’s, they say it’s better to be safe than sorry hoping to return to an undamaged home in a few days.