Hurricane Dorian is being called the biggest storm to ever attack the coast of Florida, but former Shelbyville residents still don’t know where it will hit.

Don and Kathy Fesperman moved down to East Palatka, Florida almost two years ago. His father George joined them after his wife Shirley passed away. As of Monday morning, there was still no idea how the storm would effect them.

“They still don’t have a clue,” Don Fesperman said. “One day they say it’s coming up the state and then they said it was going to turn and stay in the ocean. That kinda let our guard down.”

East Palatka is about 30 minutes away from St. Augustine, which is just south of Jacksonville on the Atlantic coast in northeast Florida.

“They started evacuating in St. Augustine and they just came on the news and said that they are evacuating in zones A and B in Jacksonville,” Fesperman said. “They tell us all we will get is 3-5 inches of rain and 50-70 mile per hour winds.”

When Don retired from International Paper in Shelbyville, they went to Florida to look for a house. They found one, but that process was interrupted by Hurricane Irma. They haven’t had a significant storm in their area since they moved.

“Our niece said if we moved down here there would be no more hurricanes here,” Fesperman said.

Despite that prediction, which may be tested this week, the Fesperman’s have prepared somewhat.

“We got supplies, water, imperishable food,” Fesperman said. “The last time there was a hurricane our neighborhood had power. We could have bought a $5,000 generator that runs on propane, but we bought a pool instead.”

He thought about buying plywood for the windows. They are about 25 miles from the coast. St. John’ River divides East Palatka and Palatka. The bridge will be closed when the winds hi 40 miles per hour, according to Fesperman.

So far their schedule is not interrupted. Kathy went to work today and there are appointments this week.

“The hurricane is suppose to here Tuesday, but I have a follow-up at the doctor in Palatka,” Fesperman said. “We have a termite inspection on Wednesday. That may not happen.”

At church on Sunday their preacher led them in prayer concerning the hurricane, and he says they will praise God through the storm.

Don’s cousin in Oconee, Illinois says it would be a good time for them to come visit.

Fesperman said “It’s just a hurricane watch for us right now, but I see the on the news they have 200 power trucks ready to go to work.”

John Curtis can be reached at

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