A Hastings woman on holiday in Florida during Hurricane Irma says she was spared the worst of the storm.

Michelle Landers, a retail account manager at Hawke's Bay Today, said the part of Orlando she was in was not badly affected.

"We've been fairly lucky, there's only been a few trees on the ground. We haven't had the flooding other areas have had."

Shops were closed and boarded up in preparation for Irma's arrival. Photo/Michelle Landers
Shops were closed and boarded up in preparation for Irma's arrival. Photo/Michelle Landers

Her hotel in East Orlando still had power, despite electricity going out across two-thirds of the state.


"We've had a lot of people that don't have power in their properties check in here," Ms Landers said.

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"I know other areas have been told they have to boil their water as well."

A curfew in place in Orlando had just been lifted when she spoke to Hawke's Bay Today.

"It's now 9 o'clock on Monday night and the road's just started to get a lot busier."

Local shops are still closed, despite a dramatic improvement in the weather, she said.

Disney World in Orlando remained closed, although it was unclear whether this was due to flooding or other damage.

"By tomorrow I think a lot of people will be back to normal."

The weather had been awful overnight, however.

"Last night it was pretty hairy, the rain was just horrendous.

"I don't think anybody in the hotel got much sleep. A lot of the people were locals and they were just absolutely terrified."

Damage in nearby Tampa - about an hour and a half away by car - was considerably worse than in Orlando, she said.

Ms Landers said her biggest problem now was that the airport remained closed.

"We're going to have to check tomorrow to see if the flight's going to go.

"We're just hoping our flight will be on."

Schools would remain closed until Wednesday - Ms Landers said this was probably due to the fact they were being used as shelters.

Hurricane Irma had been downgraded to a tropical storm and was headed north over Georgia.

Six people were reported dead in Florida as a result of the storm.