GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — People from West Michigan now living in the Tampa Bay area are preparing for Hurricane Ian.

Evacuations are already underway and many are stocking up on essential supplies which can be challenging to find.

Trevor Vrona, a cousin of New 8’s Tom Hillen, is staying with his friend Chris Contreras who lives farther from the expected storm surge area.

“Yesterday I had to go to 11 different gas stations to try to find gas and I think Publix had over 100 people in line waiting for water,” Contreras said.

Vrona works at a hospital so he needs to stay in the region.

“I’ve seen a few of our friends talking about evacuating already so everyone has either already left or still preparing to leave,” Vrona said.

Homes and businesses are boarding up in the neighborhood. In addition to the winds, the storm surge is their biggest concern and while some people leave the state others are seeking shelter in other parts of Florida away from the storm’s direct path.

“A few of our friends are leaving to go to the east coast right now. Fort Lauderdale, Miami,” Vrona said.

This will be the first hurricane Vrona has been through and he says getting certain supplies were especially challenging.

“It was like toilet paper during COVID so I didn’t get any water but luckily Chris did,” Vrona said.   

While the friends are hopeful the storm will weaken, they are preparing for the worst.

“I’m a little worried but hanging in there. We got our grocery shopping in. Cars are hopefully parked in a non-flood zone and we’re just hoping for the best,” Vrona said.

Vrona and his friends have an additional backup plan to evacuate to Miami if the storm changes its path.