Hurricane Florence, qualified as a Category 2 storm according to ABC 11, is projected to hit the coast of the Carolinas early Friday morning, although the area will feel the impact of the storm starting Thursday morning. In the meantime, approximately 750,000 to 1 million residents have been requested to evacuate.
Sophomore Matthew Emlaw, from Charleston, South Carolina, said his family has packed up items of sentimental value and evacuated to stay with family in Oklahoma. Emlaw’s father’s job with the weather service requires that he stay behind, though, to keep people informed of changes in the storm. He will be staying in a bunker-like structure owned by the weather service that is designed to withstand even Category 5 storm wind-speeds, Emlaw said.
Emlaw said being away from home during the possibility of tragedy is a little stressful.
“It kind of makes me nervous, because on the one hand, there’s been a couple hurricanes – none that I’m aware of that were this bad – but… the last time I was there, I was able to grab things that I would worry [about],” Emlaw said. “And this time I’m kind of like, ‘Please don’t hit Charleston,’ because if it does, then there’s a decent chance that I’ll never see some of that stuff again.”
Sophomore William St. Leger, from Hampstead, North Carolina, lives right on the intercostal waterway, but his family has decided not to evacuate. His family has seen many hurricanes before and most houses on the coast are equipped for storms like this one, St. Leger said.
“I was born and raised in Houston — lived there for about eight years. I’ve went through hurricanes all of my life, and so you kind of get used to the general procedure of what to do,” St. Leger said. “My family was considering leaving, but our house is rated for 180-mile-an-hour winds. So it’s special windows, different building materials, stuff like that, so that’s why they ended up staying.”
Although his house is prepared for the storm, St. Leger said he is concerned about what the rest of his home community may be like when he returns.
“I’m not especially worried just because my family knows what they’re doing, but I am worried in a sense that I don’t know what it’s going to be like when I come back,” St. Leger said. “Ya know, your neighbor’s house might get destroyed and they might not move back in at all or they might rebuild in two years. It’s just a general sense of you don’t know what it’s going to be like. Whenever you come back it could be completely transformed.”
Emlaw said he is worried about the storm, but it is the aftermath that he is most concerned about.
“It’s not the storm itself that makes it so hard to stay through storms, it’s surviving the aftermath,” Emlaw said. “If Category 5 makes landfall like that, it’s just going to be tons of destruction. Tons of people’s homes are going to get destroyed and just hope that it doesn’t come to that.”
St. Leger said that when it comes to weathering the storm and taking care of your neighbors, it is a community mindset.
“You offer anything you can, any extra rooms in your house,” St. Leger said. “If anything survives in the storm then you move their stuff in my garage. I mean, I know we have three different people we know that their car is in our garage, stuff like that.”
Although the categorization of the storm has progressively decreased, as well as maximum wind-speed, the anticipated rainfall stays the same, according to ABC 11.