As Hurricane Irma continues heading towards Florida for an estimated Sunday arrival, a Toms River native currently living there explains the level of concern among fellow residents.

Lynn Mongiardini lives with her young son Luciano and grandparents in Punta Gorda who are next door, located between Tampa Bay and Fort Myers, along the Gulf Coast of Mexico.

She says many Floridians are concerned Irma could have similar impacts to Hurricane Charley that hit in August of 2004.

"Everyone pretty much stayed for Charley 13-years ago," said Mongiardini. "With this one, people are being more pro-active in that they're getting their homes ready but they're actually taking off."

Charley was a Category 4 when it hit Florida in the summer of 2004 causing a significant amount of destruction in the sunshine state.

With Irma appearing to be a Category 4 by the time it reaches Florida in the Sunday timeframe, Mongiardini says the residents approach to the upcoming storm is more pro-active this time for residents remaining hopeful Irma calms down soon.

"I would say 13-years ago they (many of the residents) kind of waited it out," said Mongiardini. "This time they said they were just going to take off as soon as they got wind that this was going to be a strong hurricane."

She says Floridians have been stocking up on things like water, bread, peanut butter, gatorade, batteries and the supplies they need to board up their homes.

"A lot of people have been making sure that their generators are working and getting wood on their shutters," said Mongiardini.

Preparations began Monday in Florida as residents stocked up on supplies ahead of Hurricane Irma's arrival this weekend with people flocking to the stores to get what they need to ride it out or gas for generators or their cars to be able to safely leave while doing what they could to try and preserve their homes for their return trip.

Even though preparations started early Monday, by Tuesday Mongiardini says is when supplies began to dwindle and people were searching for things like water and plywood to be able to board up their shudders and homes.

Despite all the pandemonium this week, she says many of the residents in the community she's in have come together and helped each other prepare.

"Everyone is being super respectful, we're all in this together," said Mongiardini. "That's their exact game-plan, is that we're helping our neighbors out."

Her plan is to ride out the storm at home and has made the necessary preparations to keep safe.

"I feel like riding it out is going to be okay because I feel like our home is definitely secure enough," said Mongiardini.

She's been in touch with her family in Toms River and informed them of her decision to ride out the storm with her son Luciano and grandparents.

"They (family in Toms River) are watching the news just like we are very carefully," said Mongiardini. "They said it's basically up to me, if I stay...I stay, if we leave, we leave and they're going to support my decision."

Lynn's two brothers Mike and Matt were standout pitchers for Toms River High School East in the early part of last decade before eventually playing together for Temple University.

*Thoughts and prayers go out to Lynn, her family and everyone in the world being impacted by Hurricane's Harvey, Irma, Jose and any other storm systems during the Hurricane Season.

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