Father and son shaken from being trapped in the eye of Hurricane Irma
COTTONWOOD, Calif. - A Cottonwood father and son are happy to be home after being trapped in Hurricane Irma.
Craig Kulyn went to Saint Martin to visit his son Jacob for his birthday on August 24.
Craig said Hurricane Irma was a Category 2 storm at the time.
"They predicted that it would be going north and just brushing the island, we'd get some weather. But then it took a turn," Craig said.
The two decided to stay at Jacob's medical school as the hurricane grew stronger.
"It looked scary, you know. We're held up at one of the campus buildings and the wind speeds were so high it just looked like a white out outside if you were able to see," Jacob said.
They said neighboring buildings were swept away.
"We're lying in this auditorium and you can feel the concrete walls just vibrating, and it was dead silent cause everybody was just wondering is this place about to just get destroyed?" Jacob said.
The school held a meeting about what to expect when the eye of the storm passed.
"When the front hits us, you'll have four hours of 185 to 220 miles an hour winds, then you'll have an hour break when the eye passes over. When the back wall hits, it will be another four hours," Craig said.
They were unable to let loved ones back home know how they were doing, leaving mother Marsha worried.
"We had no communication whatsoever. The administration had a couple of satellite phones and that's how we would get information," Craig said.
Although the school had no power or running water for five days, they still braved the storm's aftermath to rescue victims.
"A lot of people needed help, so we never slept for the entirety of the time," Jacob said.
As they drove through the town afterward, all they saw was destruction as far as the eye could see.
"You can kind of see a little bit of the mayhem that's gone on here. No leaves left on any trees," Jacob said.
They finally returned home safely Monday, an emotional night, to be reunited with the rest of their family.