(WAFB) - With trees uprooted and tiles ripped from roofs, Hurricane Irma's powerful punch upended the Turks and Caicos Island.
Misty Spinks and her family, including three young children, rode out the storm at their resort hotel. The eye of the storm passed right over the Caribbean paradise.
"Just constant wind for hours upon hours," Spinks said. "We never experienced anything this up close and personal."
Spinks and her family arrived on the islands on Saturday. Once it was clear the storm was headed for them, she attempted to get her family out, but all the flights were booked. She had travel insurance, but it proved to be unhelpful. "We just had to accept the fact that we were here, but it's a different feeling when you know you have nowhere else to go," she said.
In Central, Louisiana, Spinks' mom, Lisa Spurgeon, anxiously watched the radar. She stayed in touch with her family as often as she could as Irma plowed through.
"There's no worse feeling than knowing that your children are in harm's way and there's nothing you can do," Spurgeon said, describing herself as feeling "helpless."
Spinks' kids kept their spirits high throughout the long night, despite the pounding wind outside. "They ended up sitting on the floor playing board games and cards and we just made the most out of it," she said.
Spinks called the storm's power "humbling." While there was damage at the resort, it paled in comparison to the devastation nearby. Many resort employees and their families hunkered down at the hotel, knowing their houses were at risk.
"About 60 to 70 percent of the homes are gone, and he said the airport has about 11 to 12 feet of water in it right now," Misty said, recalling what the hotel manager told the about 450 remaining resort guests at a morning meeting.
It could be days before flights resume and the Spinks family is able to get back home. Even so, Spinks said she is hesitant to second guess her decision to vacation in the line of Irma.
"If it was any closer, no, we wouldn't have, but it was so far out, that there was just no way to know," said Spinks.