Richmond nurse in San Juan: Irma’s winds sounded like freight train

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico -- A nurse who lives in Richmond rode out Hurricane Irma at a hotel in San Juan, Puerto Rico.  Anne Obrion said she knew it was possible Irma could hit San Juan, Puerto Rico, when she left Richmond Saturday, but since she has been through hurricanes in past, she decided to carry on with her plans.

Obrion said the hotel where she is staying started preparing their guest for the storm Tuesday.  She said the building is very sturdy and they boarded up all the windows and doors.

The worst of Irma rode through San Juan Wednesday night, and Obrion said they barely noticed the powerful winds and rain from the interior of the building; however, she said she really felt the storm's power when she briefly stood near a door where the boards were partially cracked.

"That's when you could feel the wind; that's when you could hear the freight train; that's when you could actually feel the storm going on," Obrion said.  "But when I was in any other part of the second floor, I couldn't feel anything. I couldn't even tell there was a storm going on. That's how bunkered down we were."

Hundreds of people called and texted Obrion during the peak of the storm to make sure she was doing okay.

Officials in Puerto Rico said three people have been killed and more than one million people are without power because of Irma, despite the fact that the category five hurricane did not directly hit the U.S. territory.

Obrion said she plans to stay in San Juan through the rest of her vacation since the storm has already passed.  She said she wants to put her skills as a nurse to use to help those in Puerto Rico hit hardest by Irma.

"My heart right now goes out to the people of San Juan, and anyone else in Hurricane Irma's path right now that are struggling because I've seen pictures, and I just feel so sorry for them and I want to help them," Obrion said.

Obrion's path back to Richmond may be impacted by Irma one more time.  She is scheduled to fly back into the US on Saturday but through Florida.  Since the storm is supposed to make landfall there around that time, Obrion said she is waiting to see if and how her travel plans will be affected.