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Cleveland couple forced to ride out hurricane during honeymoon

Robert and Stephanie Hilliard are newlyweds, spending their honeymoon in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. They are forced to ride out Hurricane Irma on their first floor room in their beach resort hotel. (Image: WTVC)

Mr. and Mrs. Robert and Stephanie Hilliard did not expect a hurricane would be coming in to storm on their honeymoon in the Dominican Republic. By the time the newlyweds decided to leave all flights already been booked or cancelled.

Palm trees swirling and massive waves breaking. That's what it looked like outside of the "Excellence El Carmen" in Punta Cana on Wednesday night. The Hilliards are from Cleveland, Tenn.

"I'm scared," said Stephanie Hilliard. "I'm a little nervous."

"I'm not," said Robert Hilliard. The couple married just before they left for their honeymoon. Friends were supposed to join the couple on the trip Wednesday morning. April Pearson says she changed her mind the night before.

"The resort was like, yeah, we're not recommending our guests to come," she said. "I hope that they have good weather. I hope it doesn’t cause devastation for them and that they have a good honeymoon."

The couple told News Channel 9 that their resort boarding up the windows and doors of the hotel, and enacted a 9 o'clock curfew Wednesday night.

To friends and family back home, they had a message.

"We're safe," they said. "We think they'll take care of us here. We've got plenty of food here, plenty of water. I don't see any major issues here except for flooding, but we'll be safe."

Flooding could be important, considering the couple is staying on the first floor of their resort. They plan on come back home sometime on Sunday.

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