Palm Beach County woman returns from Puerto Rico after Hurricane Fiona

Published: Sep. 23, 2022 at 5:25 PM EDT
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A Palm Beach County woman said she was in Puerto Rico longer than she expected after going to the island to prepare her vacation home for the peak of hurricane season.

Hurricane Fiona disrupted those plans.

"This is where I live in the town of Camuy. Where Fiona hit is here," said Salesia Smith-Gordon, as she pointed to a map.

Smith-Gordon is an attorney in West Palm Beach. She loves her vacation home in Puerto Rico and considers it her home away from home.

"I was down at the beach feeling the water, and it changed. You could feel something changed and all of a sudden power flickered," she said. "We were getting such force of rain and water intrusion, though we had all hurricane glass and windows."

Smith-Gordon vividly recalled the moments during the storm.

"Power went out. We had power until the afternoon, but then it went out," she said.

She tried to get in touch with her friends to see if they weathered the storm.

"We live at different points on this island, so we could communicate and see who had power, who didn't, who was in a flood, who was in trouble, who was in need," she said. “Everybody was out of power."

Once the storm passed, Smith-Gordon said friends and residents in the community started helping each other.

"We have a gas stove, the neighbors have electric. But they have other things that I didn't have," she said. "So, the best thing to do was to cook it at my house, share it, then they could take it to their refrigerators to keep it cold."

Though the Florida native has weathered many storms, she said it's always good to be prepared.

"You do learn patience, you learn preparedness,” said Smith-Gordon. And what I am going to do is, write a list of those things that I will make sure I have here and in West Palm Beach as well."

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