Sudbury-born Jennifer Dully is thankful she escaped Tropical Storm Irma ahead of its descent on her home in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., but recognizes that not every one is as lucky.

"My heart is down there with all my friends," Dully said. 

"It's hard to explain, but when you do leave — you do feel like a bit of a coward I will admit — even though you know it's the right thing to do. So many people have to stay and don't have the financial means to go, and we were very blessed to be able to go the way we did."

Dully left Florida for Boston last Wednesday with her family after feeling unease from those around her.

"I could see the panic starting to set in with them," Dully said.

"I just had a lot of pressure from family and friends out of the state to leave."

Flooding 'new fear'

Dully said her home has been spared the brunt of Irma's force, which was originally forecasted as a category five hurricane. 

Since she moved to Florida from Capreol in 1995, Dully said her hurricane shutters go up every June and stay there until November. 

This year, she said there is more of an emphasis on sand bagging because of recent widespread flooding caused by Hurricane Harvey in Texas.

"The flooding is kind of a new fear that none of us had really had in Florida," Dully said.

"People did a lot more sandbags for preparation this year. Just digging up sand and soil from your yard and putting sandbags up against your house, knowing you can just put it back into your yard."

The emotional turmoil for Dully may be ending, but it continues for many others.

Greater Sudbury Utilities may send assistance

Millions in Florida remain without power. 

The state has asked for assistance. Greater Sudbury Utilities may send equipment or crews to help. 

A decision is expected to be made on Tuesday just as the weakened, but still dangerous tropical storm heads north.

"It's really difficult to send these big trucks because they're huge. They're slow. They're not made for long-distance travel and they require a rigorous maintenance regime," the hydro company's director of communications Wendy Watson said.

"We're considering what we can do."

olivia.stefanovich@cbc.ca