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Residents spent restless night on Lido Key

They were presented with a difficult decision. Leave or stay inside. And they chose to ride out Hurricane Ian in their homes.

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  • | 8:30 p.m. September 29, 2022
Cindy and Carl Shoffstall made the hard decision to stay put in Lido Key for Hurricane Ian. (Photo by Spencer Fordin)
Cindy and Carl Shoffstall made the hard decision to stay put in Lido Key for Hurricane Ian. (Photo by Spencer Fordin)
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They knew the risks. And they weathered the storm on Lido Key.

But Carl Shoffstall will tell you himself that he’s not sure he made the smartest decision.

Shoffstall, the president of the Lido Key Homeowners Association, and his wife, Cindy endured a rough night at their home during Hurricane Ian. The water was turned off on Lido Key at 7 p.m. Tuesday, and they lost power for 10 hours during the thick of the storm.

“We made up our mind,” Cindy Shoffstall said. “We didn’t waffle.”

More photos: Siesta Key battered but not broken after Hurricane Ian

A broken sidewalk and uprooted tree on Lido Key. (Photo by Spencer Fordin)
A broken sidewalk and uprooted tree on Lido Key. (Photo by Spencer Fordin)

The couple has lived in Sarasota for 20 years, and Carl Shoffstall said that the worst storm they lived through was an unnamed event back in the 1990s that caused tornados.

But this time? They said their property only had minor damage, such as broken tree limbs.

There were no broken windows. No flooding. Shoffstall said he lives across the street from the beach and didn’t see any storm surge at all — and he had a secondary plan just in case.

“We had friends from Ohio who are here,” he said. “And we could’ve gone upstairs.”

More photos: See the impact of Hurricane Ian in Sarasota, Manatee

Five years ago, Shoffstall said, they made the opposite decision. They decided to evacuate during Hurricane Irma, and they drove all the way to their house in Plant City.

Only one small problem: By the time they arrived, Irma’s eye was over Plant City.

This time, they saw another hard truth about evacuation.

Shoffstall said he was talking with a couple from Longboat Key on Wednesday who were thinking about leaving. By the time they decided, the closest hotel available was in Immokalee.

Two and a half hours away. Through the storm.

Shoffstall said he took that to mean that the safest thing meant sheltering in place and hoping for no storm surge.

“You can run from the wind,” Shoffstall said. “But the water will kill you.”

Brandon Snyder was wearing an
Brandon Snyder was wearing an "I Survived Hurricane Irma" T-shirt on the day after Hurricane Ian. (Photo by Spencer Fordin)

Another Lido resident, Brandon Snyder, said he spent a restless night literally holding the wind back from opening the back door of his home. First, Snyder propped a chair against his back door, and then he leaned against it while reclining on his Teeter inversion table.

All in all, Snyder said, it really wasn’t that bad as far as hurricanes go.

“I lived through Hugo in St. Croix back in 1989,” he said. “I lived through Charley, and I lived through Irma.

"Now I've lived through this one. I’ll tell you one thing: If what happened down in Fort Myers had happened here, this island would’ve been underwater.”

Snyder, who has lived in Sarasota for seven years, said he spent part of the storm watching some sparrows that had nested into cubbyholes on the side of his house.

He went out to the bird feeder in the morning to fill it, and he was soon greeted by a flock of hungry birds.

Snyder said he never considered evacuating, and he also said he was relieved that there was no storm surge.

He spent the storm looking down Ford Street waiting for water to come, and if he had seen the waters rising, he planned to high-tail it for a nearby second floor landing.

Snyder spent much of Thursday morning riding around Lido Key and documenting damage.

He saw one chimney askew and a sign for the Holiday Inn knocked down. There were trees fallen and sidewalks broken. But nothing that couldn’t be fixed.

“There’s going to be a lot of cleanup. But we dodged another bullet,” he said. “With hurricanes, you prepare, you survive, and then you clean up.”


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