CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Charlotte resident Stefani Hasty will be in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic Wednesday evening the as Hurricane Irma approaches the island country.
Hasty, a travel agent, said she has been in the Dominican Republic since July 10 touring resorts and working remotely when Wi-Fi is available.
Heavy rain and winds from Irma pounded the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico Wednesday. The storm is making its way towards the United States.
Hasty spoke to WBTV over the phone Wednesday afternoon.
The travel agent said she is staying at a fishing lodge in Cap Cana, a destination on the eastern tip of the Dominican Republic, and she said she feels safe.
"Different than in the states. I feel like as far as the weather here. people are more maybe prepared more for the hurricane side of it," said Hasty.
She said she has spotted people boarding up windows on restaurants and shops nearby. Hasty has been sharing pictures and updates about the weather on her Facebook page.
"At this point, I want to keep in touch with family and friends through social media, texts, calls, emails and just continue to monitor (Irma)," explained Hasty.
Although she feels safe, Hasty admits she is a little worried about the storm. She said she started looking at flights out of the Dominican Republic as the storm was forming.
"Prices for the tickets and airfare skyrocketed. There was less availability," said Hasty.
She said there is an emergency hurricane team staying in her building, and she also noted that a lot of the grocery stores have had essential items like non-perishable food and water.
WBTV Chief Meteorologist Eric Thomas said the area where Hasty is staying will likely see rough weather, but won't get the worst of the storm. He said the effects from Irma would be most noticeable in the Dominican Republic during the day Thursday.
"I think a lot of what I'm feeling now as well as the comfort level is my surroundings and how prepared people are," explained Hasty.
She said she plans to fly back to the United States on September 12 as long as the weather permits.