“Tuffing it Out …” Tuesday 9:19am – Washed my face with RUNNING WATER! 09 Sep 17

Text Tuesday, 9:19am: No electricity yet – but the grocery store next door opened so we bought lunch meat and bread :) Went to the bathroom there and washed my hands and face with RUNNING WATER! Sooooo awesome – No air conditioning but not horrible yet. Our plan is to go back to that store if we need to cool off, it had awesome AC! It may be several days before the electricity is on.

The latest from former Minnesotan’s Kaydee and Russell Tuff, who were able to leave the house where they rode out Hurricane Irma this morning and make the hazardous trip through flooding and storm debris to temporarily relocate until power is restored. The couple says they were more fortunate that their neighbors, describing storm damage that got worse as they drove through flood waters toward the city center. They’ve been able to renew cell phones by using their car charger, but Kaydee says it was hard to be without any communication or information during the height of the storm Sunday. The biggest lesson learned? Never be without your battery operated AM/FM Radio :)

Text Monday, 4:58pm: Not anywhere near the extent of Houston, but more water than I’ve seen in 25 years.”

Text Monday, 4:52pm: “We have moved twice today trying to find a place to stay with internet. We are now at a condo in Naples. God has truly blessed us. Allyn’s house is great – Our business building looks o.k. – “Little House” is spared only by God’s good grace – Our house is good. We lost the dock and the lake is coming very close to the house; could use some prayers for that. No power at any of the houses and not sure when that will happen.”

Text Monday, 8:08am: “Golden Gate hit bad by flooding. We can’t get to our house.”

Text Monday, 6:58am: “My phone just got power for the first time since yesterday. We are good – Allyn’s house is good, checking our own home in Golden Gate.”

The latest from Blackduck/Bemidji Natives Kaydee and Russell Tuff – now living in Naples, Florida – Cell phone service restored at 6:58am this morning, the couple preparing to leave their son’s home in an attempt to check on their home several miles away in the Naples suburb of Golden Gate, both doing well after a long night in the dark.

The two were taking refuge in a Naples suburb out of the surge zone when last we heard from them just after 1:30 Sunday Afternoon. Their story is told in text messaging over the past 24 hours and our original report at the bottom of this post. Our best to the Tuffs’ and their children, all First Responders in the wake of Hurricane Irma.

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Text Sunday, 1:38pm; Not sure why my texts go through to you but glad they are – we have no more info communications outside of our kids, which we are fortunate to have – hard to sit here in the dark. Russell says I have to shut down now …

Text Sunday, 1:28pm; Can you share with family that we are good? Texts not going through …

Text Sunday, 11:55am; Looks like the power’s out for good – talk to you in a few hours.

Text Sunday, 11:09am; 44 mph sustained winds in Naples. Gusts 64mph.

Text Sunday, 10:46am; All Florida State Troopers off the road.

Text Sunday, 10:36am; Trying to send local updates – not sure if it’s working.

Text Sunday, 9:45am; The lights are flickering so I anticipate losing power soon. Once that happens we will preserve our batteries – will try to post every couple hours or so. All is well and on the local radio stations they are assuring us we will all be okay if we shelter inside (duhhhhh :)

Text Sunday, 7:53am: Power still on in our neighborhood but 2000 customers out in Collier right now – looong haul until it is back on. Lines buried out here, maybe that helps – got candles and flashlights ready.”

Text Sunday, 7:44am: “Pretty quiet now but gusts are getting high enough that emergency responders are not being called out.”

Text Saturday, 8:36pm:

“The water is expected to breach US 41 into the levy area where the Collier County EOC is located – they evacuated Amy’s car to another location. Weird thought – to evacuate cars!!”

Text Saturday, 3:25pm:

“Enjoying being outside while we still can!! The bands are just barely starting- we did have a tornado touch down in Everglades City 40 miles from here.”

Original Story below …

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Thief River Falls Radio
Saturday September 9th 2017 8:45am ..

They pulled the hurricane shutters on their home in Naples, Florida and headed for higher ground this morning.

Kaydee and Russell Tuff are natives of the Blackduck/Bemidji Area with family in Thief River Falls and are finding themselves literally in the eye of the storm as Hurricane Irma moves toward Southern Florida today.

Kaydee Tuff says they’ve rethought evacuation plans repeatedly. The first to ride out the weather, as they have previous storms, quickly abandoned; their home for the first time vulnerable to the predicted 10 to 15 foot storm surge.

Tuff, who works as Public Relations/Communications Manager for the Naples Area Shelter for Abused Women and Children, says Plan B was to evacuate to shelter; now caring for some of the area’s most vulnerable residents; 21 adults and 26 children.

In the end they went with Plan C – deciding to shelter in their son’s home, outside the storm surge – in the hope of providing support to their children – all First Responders – in Irma’s aftermath.

That includes; Riley, with Emergency Management in Cape Coral – Col. Allyn Tuff, with the Collier County Sheriff’s Department and Daughter-in-Law Amy, in Law Enforcement Dispatch. All are assigned and on-duty this weekend as the massive storm moves into the area; with Naples expected to take a direct hit.

The Tuffs called the drive out of the city center “crazy” this morning – odd to see every business closed, so little traffic on the road as officials urge everyone to take shelter from historic storm – some areas under mandatory evacuation order.

Irma is expected to come ashore early Sunday with 10-12 inches of rain and winds of more than 130 mph. We will be following the Tuff’s story as long as cell phone service holds out, with more as the hours tick by on Thief River Falls Radio.