NEW YORK - The impact of Hurricane Irma is being felt in the New York area by both visitors here and by those with loved ones in the Caribbean.
"I'm hurting inside. It is so painful. I have been crying every day. I'm not sleeping well," Lisa Willis, a U.S. Virgin Islands resident, said.
Willis was vacationing here in New York with her husband and son when Irma struck. After days of watching the monster storm approach, they have no idea if their home and business in the U.S. Virgin Islands survived.
Even worse, Willis has not heard a word from any of her many family members in the British Virgin Islands.
"It is the hardest thing for me. Going through this, being here - can't even hug anyone and say we're going to go through this together. It's heartbreaking," she said.
They already know her husband's parents lost their U.S. Virgin Islands' home. They have also had to cancel their original plan to return home on Friday, if they even still have one.
"Right now, we don't even have a clue," Albert Willis said.
Rebecca from Asbury Park, New Jersey is also stranded, but in Turks and Caicos. Those islands were in the path for a direct hit on Thursday evening.
"Right now, the wind is picking up. The ocean is starting to get a little choppy. The resort is trying to put everything away," she told Eyewitness News earlier in the day.
Irma has also wreaked havoc on Shawna Grant and Brian Swafford's wedding plans. The Connecticut couple was supposed to cruise out of Miami on Saturday and get married this weekend in the Bahamas. All of those plans have been canceled.
"We sent all of our stuff to Florida, to the hotel that we were supposed to be staying at," Grant said.
They are still hoping to get married this weekend, but in Connecticut instead.
Central Islip residents gather donations for victims of Hurricane Irma
On Long Island, it has not been easy for Norma Alvarado, who more than a thousand miles away from her family in Puerto Rico.
"They told us despite all the flooding and everything they did well. We were concerned. You never know it could go as it's told or it could go a little worse," Alvarado said.
It's estimated that Category 5 Hurricane Irma has left more than 1 million people in Puerto Rico without power. Approximately 56 thousand people are without water.
It's left people in our area concerned about their family members and friends.
"My heart goes out to them. I also have a lot of friends who live down there. I haven't heard from them yet, but I'm going by the grace of God that everything is well," Folona Ozuna of Brentwood said.
"Where they are, they're safe. It's calm. I know there are trees there that are down and stuff like that. Everyone is without power and with the heat that's a difficult situation," Cristina Rosario of Hauppauge said.
Adelante of Suffolk County has announced it will serve as a drop off point for donations for those living on the already financially strained island.
"Please feel free to bring donations of bottled water, non-perishable food, toiletries and for infants pampers, formula," Olga El Sehamy of Adelante said.
Donations can be dropped off at Adelante of Suffolk County offices located at 83 Carleton Avenue in Central Islip and 10 3rd Avenue in Brentwood.
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