Hurricane Irma crashes Raleigh woman's Puerto Rico party

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Stephanie Healey traveled to the island of Puerto Rico last Saturday to celebrate a dear friend's 50th birthday.

She's a Canadian-born Raleigh resident working at SAS in Cary, but right now Stephanie Healey is in the path of Hurricane Irma.

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Healey traveled to the island of Puerto Rico last Saturday to celebrate a dear friend's 50th birthday. Now, she finds herself riding out the most powerful storm to ever pass by the island.

"By 8 o'clock, that should be the worst of it," Healey said, talking via Facebook Messenger video chat from the lobby of Hotel Casa Blanca in old San Juan where she's staying. "And, by 9 o-clock, I think we're going to be good, we're going to be done."

RELATED: The latest on Hurricane Irma

Fortunately for Healey, Irma's eye stayed more than 30 miles away from shore. There was no direct hit

"Had the eye come over us, it could be a completely different story. But we're just getting all the (rain) bands," Healey said.

Wind gusts reached nearly 100 mph across the island. But Puerto Rico was spared the worst of the historically powerful hurricane.



"This is a very sturdy building," Healey said, complimenting hotel staff. "We've got more water than we know what to do with. We've got a lot of food. We've got power so we're not scared."

She's been holed up much of the day in the hotel with friends, many of them from Raleigh. And up until Irma crashed the 50th birthday party for Healey's friend David, they were enjoying Puerto Rico from the scenery to the tequila.

Now it's turned into a hurricane party. Healey is surviving just fine, but getting home may be another story.

Her flight back to RDU connected through Fort Lauderdale. It's already canceled. She spent hours on hold with the airline - and still no flight.

"But I do have my work laptop," she said. "I mean, if I do have to work remotely on Monday, there are worse places to have to work remotely than Puerto Rico."

While Puerto Rico was spared a direct hit and Healey and her friends are safe and sound in a sturdy concrete hotel, the island is certainly feeling the impact: 600,000 people are without power, 50,000 have no water, and trees and light poles are down across the island.

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