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Mother and daughter from Milwaukee forced to separate during Hurricane Irma

As hurricane Irma barrels toward Florida, thousands are evacuating including a family from Milwaukee who was forced to split up.

Jo Rivera and her 16-year-old daughter, Alyssa, moved from Milwaukee to Florida last year. And on Thursday, Alyssa had an hour to pack up and get out of Florida.

“I don't know how long I'm gonna be here and I just brought whatever I could,” Alyssa said. “I feel like it's a very helpless feeling cause you just don't know what's going to happen.”

Alyssa is staying with her aunt, Karienne Rivera, in Milwaukee. The family had nine people scouring the internet for a flight and finally found one Thursday morning.

“We dropped everything to make sure she was here and safe,” Karienne said.

But while the high school junior is safe in Wisconsin, part of her heart is back home.

“It's very sad because my mom couldn’t come,” Alyssa said.

Alyssa's mom is a nurse and required to stay at the hospital where she works during the brunt of the storm.

“Once we're locked in at 12, there’s no going in and out of the hospital,” Jo said. “They close all the doors.”

CBS 58 spoke to Jo over the phone Friday, as she was packing and securing her home as best she can.

“We've been taping up our windows, boxing them up,” Jo said.

As hard as it is to be apart, Jo is finding comfort knowing her daughter is out of harm’s way.

“It was such a sigh of relief,” Jo said. “I'm happy she's there.”

The family plans to text and facetime as much as possible, knowing now all they can do is wait and hope.

“You know the hurricane is going to be severe and damaging, but I don't know what's actually going to happen to my home and my friends and family,” Alyssa said.

Alyssa got a one-way ticket to Milwaukee and will stay until her home is safe. Jo, meanwhile, says the hospital where she works is one of the safest places to be during the storm.


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