Woman learned step-mother drowned during father's interview on cable news

Meghann Gaines spoke with her father, Howard Armstrong Sunday afternoon, before the storm.

"He wasn't worried at all, he said they'd been through many storms," Gaines said.

Howard and his wife, Lynn closed the storm shutters on their home on Grand Bahama Island and prepared to ride Dorian out.

"They thought they were pretty prepared," she said. "I was worried about the storm surge and how they would get out once they were closed, when the water rose."

The water did rise -- up to their necks inside their home.

The next time Meghann heard her father's voice was Tuesday night when he spoke to a cable TV news crew. 

A stranger sent Meghann the video through Facebook.

She watched with relief that her dad was alive, but then with horror as he described watching Lynn drown.

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"It was terrifying because I woke up yesterday morning already feeling like something was wrong," she said. "A young man in Michigan sent me a Facebook message and said, 'I'm so glad your father's OK, but I'm sorry to hear about your mother.' He didn't realize it was my step-mother. It went from being relieved, from earlier, when I thought he was rescued, to this."

She watched in stunned disbelief, as her father described how his wife drowned.

"He said the water just kept coming up and coming up, and their appliances were everywhere," she said. "She had hypothermia, and that the counters eventually gave way from the water, and that he stayed there with her and held her. He said that she just drowned on him."

Heartbreaking news that Meghann learned - from the news.

"That was the first anybody had heard," she said. "Earlier reports said that everything was fine, that they had been rescued... that wasn't the case. And then when I watched it, it was just horrifying."

Now her concern turns to her father.

"It’s just been my dad and Lynn forever. I mean, that’s everything. That’s his whole world. She did everything for him, and he did everything for her. I don’t know how my dad is going to survive without her. I don’t know, I don’t know.”

Meghann's father is a crab fisherman who builds boats. She said, thanks to people on the island who know her father by his nickname, "Hippie," she was able to talk to him on the phone Wednesday.

This story was reported from Tampa, Florida.