Sunderland dad speaks as Hurricane Irma hits during Florida holiday

A Sunderland dad has spoken of how his hotel was placed into lockdown as Hurrican Irma struck during his family’s Florida holiday.

Rod Scott, from Grangetown, is staying at the Hard Rock Hotel in the Universal resort with wife Karen and daughter Lauren.

The entrance to the Sea World of Orlando closed because of Hurricane Irma. Other tourists attractions shut down included Universal Studios and Disney World.

The entrance to the Sea World of Orlando closed because of Hurricane Irma. Other tourists attractions shut down included Universal Studios and Disney World.

The storm saw 120mph hit the coast, with the clear up mission now under way and millions of people left without electricity and homes and businesses devastated.

Irma cut a devastating track across 10 Caribbean islands and territories and has left at least 28 dead.

The Scotts watched the storm hit from their room as it battered the area, leaving trees, fences and posts down, while water flooded onto the land as levels rose.

While they remained at their hotel, they bumped into former Sunderland AFC manager David Moyes, who told them he has a holiday home in the city of Naples in the state.

The staff have been great over the past few days, entertaining and catering for or needs as well as making us safe.

Rod Scott

Rod said the ex-Black Cats boss had fled to Orlando after the mandatory evacuation was announced on Friday.

Rod, 54, who works for WH Forsters Printers in Sunderland, said: “The storm was reduced to a category two before it struck, but we were advised by British Airways to stay put last Thursday as our hotel was a category five building.

“We have been on lockdown since Saturday at 5pm.

“The staff have been great over the past few days, entertaining and catering for or needs as well as making us safe.

Print worker Rod Scott pictured on holiday in Florida.

Print worker Rod Scott pictured on holiday in Florida.

“Reports of the hurricane were more informative from the UK so we have kept up to date with the BBC and Sky channels.

“We stayed up late into the night viewing the storm from the hotel foyer and truthfully we have seen as stronger winds on the North East coast, however these winds and torrential rains were constant from 2pm on Sunday until 5pm on Monday.

“We have seen a number of trees blown over and some localised flooding.”

He added a curfew remained in place during Monday while the emergency services dealt with the “carnage” caused by the extreme weather.

David Moyes pictured with Rod Scott and his daughter Lauren while in Orlando.

David Moyes pictured with Rod Scott and his daughter Lauren while in Orlando.

Other areas affected by the hurricane include Cuba, St Martin and St Barthelemy, Turks and Caicos Islands, Barbuda, Anguilla, Puerto Rico, British Virgin Islands and US Virgin Islands, Haiti and the Dominican Republic.

Water levels rose as a result of the storm.

Water levels rose as a result of the storm.

Some of the damage caused by the hurricane, pictured by Rod Scott.

Some of the damage caused by the hurricane, pictured by Rod Scott.

Fencing was torn down by the force of the storm.

Fencing was torn down by the force of the storm.