WILMINGTON, N.C. — Hurricane Florence is a “monster” bearing down for a direct hit on the coast. But not everyone is fleeing as the storm approaches.
Among those who are staying put despite evacuation orders to over 1 million people throughout the Carolinas and Virginia is Jon Wright, a retired firefighter from New York who lives here now. He plans to board up his windows, hunker down and ride out the Category 4 storm.
Residents evacuate from coastal areas near Wallace, N.C., on Tuesday as Hurricane Florence is preparing to deliver a “direct hit” to the Carolinas later in the week.
ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS, AFP/GETTY IMAGES
“I’m not going to panic. I was a firefighter for 42 years. I believe in preparation,” Wright said. “It is what it is. We live in a wonderful place but that’s the cost of living here.”
He said he already has wooden boards cut to the right sizes and said the task should only take him about 30 minutes. The 63-year-old said he lives “right smack in the middle” of Cape Fear River but is prepared with pre-cooked meals, water, a rain barrel and other essentials.
There have been dire warnings from local, state and federal officials about the ferociousness of Florence. Myrtle Beach Mayor Brenda Bethune warned that “No life is worth taking a risk.”
Florence is expected to produce total rainfall accumulations of 15 to 20 inches in some areas and possibly 30 inches in isolated locations along the storm’s track, hurricane officials say.
But plenty of people won’t evacuate.
“I’m not worried. I’m just hanging in there. What can I do? I think it would be more trouble to leave,” said Jeremy Tominack, 40, who along with his wife and children, were enjoying the waves at Wrightsville Beach Tuesday afternoon.