PALMETTO BAY, Fla. — Those who plan to ride out the storm here are living in a strangely dark world. They’ve bolted down and hammered in their steel hurricane shutters, sealing themselves into their houses like canned meat, creating an airtight bunker. Because when a hurricane invades a home, the situation can get explosive.

The low-lying neighborhoods within the evacuation zone of Dade County – streets that line the shore of Biscayne Bay – have mostly emptied out. But some people say they’ll hunker down. They won’t leave. They’ll meet Hurricane Irma on their own terms, standing their ground.

“Where you gonna go?” said Richard Pollack, 62, an attorney who lives in a two-story house in the Pinecrest neighborhood, about three-quarters of a mile from the water. “The roads are dead stopped. You can’t get out of the state of Florida.”

“I figure if the water gets bad, we’ll go upstairs,” said his wife, Jan Bell Pollack, also 62, a retired attorney who was walking their standard poodle, Penny, along Old Cutler Road. She’s not as complacent as she sounds, because she and her husband lived through Hurricane Andrew in 1992.

They’d sheltered in a closet during that storm, and when things grew calmer they peeked outside and saw stars. They were in the eye – with no roof.

“We all thought that was a once-in-a-lifetime storm,” she said. “And here we go again.”

Pinecrest, Palmetto Bay and Cutler Bay are some of the neighborhoods that lie east of Route 1 and west of Biscayne Bay, which is open to the Atlantic, unprotected by a barrier island. Everyone here knows, or at least has some inkling of, which Evacuation Zone they’re in. The scale goes A to E, with A the most vulnerable to storm surge.

Glenn Falk, 67, of Palmetto Bay, had planned to leave for a hotel in Clearwater. But then the hotel in Clearwater announced that it was closing and evacuating. He said his daughter already was at the hotel and planned to return to Palmetto Bay to ride out the storm in what the county calls Evacuation Zone B.

Falk wasn’t worried.

“I’m boarded up like a fort, and I got my generator, and I’m good to go,” he said.

Some people can cite their elevation above sea level. To the untrained eye, the neighborhood looks table-flat.

“More than anything, I’m staying here because it got too late,” said Alex Carr, 39, who works in accounting and lives with his wife and two young children near Coral Reef Park, in Zone B.

He’s heard that the storm surge could be 11 feet. His elevation, he said, is 10 feet above sea level, and he figures that will mean a foot of water in the house at worst. Friday’s forecast called for five to 10 feet of storm surge in South Florida, and forecasters say there will be waves on top of that – and that in Florida, it is the storm surge that has proved fatal.