A SOUTHSEA mum caught up in the havoc of Hurricane Irma has spoken about the moment the storm hit Orlando.
Susan Jones was vacationing with her family in Disney Port Orleans French Quarter resort last night as the storm engulfed the Florida peninsula.
Despite Ms Jones' relative safety from the storm, massive trees were uprooted and lamp posts were damaged in the resort.
The brunt force of the storm swamped homes, flooded streets, snapped miles of power lines and toppled construction cranes across the state with more than 6.5 million homes and businesses without power and hundreds of thousands of people huddled up in shelters.
Describing the ordeal, Ms Jones, from Southsea, said she struggled to get much sleep at all as the family were told to stay in the room until advised to come out.
She said: 'It started on Sunday morning with the rain getting heavier and the winds getting stronger. It was cooler about 8pm but then it was hotter at about 10pm as the centre got nearer.
'It was quite scary when the eye drew near and the winds were at their strongest. The hurricane hit us worst at 2am when it sounded horrendous.
'The wind was roaring and whistling and there were lots of other noises which you could not tell what they were as it was dark.
'We were lucky we had power all the time unlike an awful lot of Floridians. Power was going off everywhere. We kept the TV on to keep track of the hurricane so we knew when the worst was past.
'I think everyone was relieved when it had passed by. We were lucky that these buildings are very sturdy. We had a floor above us so did not need to worry about the roof and a floor below so no worry about the flooding.'
Ms Jones said that the family are still confined to the resort while staff deal with the aftermath, with large trees blown over across the area.
She said the atmosphere at the resort was now 'upbeat' and praised staff for how they dealt with preparations for Irma's landfall, adding: 'They have been very good and organised. Even some of the locals booked in as they thought it would be a safe place to be.
'They organised things for the children to do and kept restaurant services running with a limited menu right up until curfew time.'
Officials have warned it could take weeks for electricity to be restored to all of the state.
The monster storm arrived in Florida as a category 4 hurricane but soon was downgraded to a tropical storm with winds of 65mph by this morning.
It is blamed for the death of one man killed in a road accident during the storm in Florida with at least 34 people killed in the Caribbean as it ravaged a string of resort islands.