BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — When they hear the word “storm,” many Western New Yorkers prepare with snow shovels in hand. But for Western New Yorkers who are currently in Hurricane Ian’s track, they’re trading snow shovels for sand bags.

“If you’ve lived here for any amount of time, you take it in stride, you prepare, as you know what the right thing to do is, and you get it done.” said Martha Meegan, who moved down to Gulf Port, Fla. in 2019 with her husband. “The people that are new here, like us. We’re fortunate we have neighbors who live here, born and raised Floridians — so if I have a question, I go right to them.”

The Meegans moved down to Florida back in 2019, but Ian is the first hurricane they are experiencing. Martha is on the board of their building and the only board member that decided to stay and help their neighbors. Bringing of the “City of Good Neighbors” mantra to Florida with her.

“My husband and I are people who like to help by nature.” said Meegan. “I just like being involved in my community. This is our community now and it’s our neighbors.”

The Meegans are hunkered down with 30 other people who decided not to leave, and last time News 4 spoke to them, they said they felt safe.

Others who live by the coastline decided to evacuate their homes, like Amber Porter, a Lancaster native. Porter is staying with her WNY friend and East Aurora native Emily Kasprzyk, who now lives in Orlando, Fla.

“We have lots of supplies and plenty of food, we’re just kind of expecting heavy rains and power outages,” Kasprzyk said. “We kind of went back in time and got like coloring books, activity books, I bought like hot wheel cars and just stuff to keep us entertained.”

Though this is not their first rodeo when it comes to handling a hurricane, it is the first time they are hunkering down for one.

Porter and her partner left their home in St. Petersburg last night after preparing their home for the storm, got in their car and headed towards Orlando.

“We unplugged everything in the house, we had to put everything up on beds and up on counters, just to get everything up off the floor,” said Porter.

Both Kasprzyk and Porter said they felt safe the last time News spoke to them and we will continue to check in with Western New Yorkers that are in Ian’s path.

Hope Winter is a reporter and multimedia journalist who has been part of the News 4 team since 2021. See more of her work here.