CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WVEC) -- As Hurricane Irma ripped through the U.S. Virgin Islands Wednesday, Frank Dalmida monitored it closely in Hampton Roads.

He's originally from St. Thomas and still has family there.

"Around 1 or 2 o'clock, I was checking in with a family member that still had connections with us, and he said the winds were picking up, the rain definitely was there, and things were getting worse," he said.

Dalmida said his relatives didn't have cell phone service, but were able to communicate with him through a phone app.

Luckily for his grandmother and uncle in St. Thomas, the storm passed safely.

He said his uncle's house is made of concrete that withheld, and his grandmother lives in a valley, protected by mountains.

"It makes it tough, but we're strong. We're a tight-knit family. We'll get through it," he said.