David Redlon’s fiancée and future mother-in-law had already heeded mandatory evacuation orders and fled their Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, home to escape Hurricane Florence.

But Redlon, 29, who lived in Windham before moving to South Carolina in April, was thinking he might “hunker down and ride out” his first hurricane.

“I want to see if it’s worse than a nor’easter. I just want the adventure, I think,” Redlon said Wednesday afternoon.

In addition to potential wind speeds well over 100 mph, Florence is expected to bring historic rainfall and flooding with a devastating storm surge to the Carolinas.

The storm has been described as potentially catastrophic and life-threatening, in large part because it is expected to stall along the coast, producing rain totals over 20 inches.

Redlon’s newly constructed residence is about 3 miles from the Atlantic Ocean. It was built to withstand hurricane winds and came equipped with plywood and lag bolts for covering the windows. Redlon figured he had until 8:30 Wednesday night to make a final decision.

“I’m going to keep updated. If they’re talking too much flooding then I might head out,” he said.

Geoff Dardia of Kennebunkport, who is on active duty with the Army in North Carolina, doesn’t live close to the ocean so he plans to stay at home during the hurricane. He said, “The big thing here to watch out for is all the pine trees coming down.”

Another former Mainer, Geoff Dardia said staying near the coast would probably be a mistake. Dardia, 42, from Kennebunkport, is an active duty member of the Army, stationed out of Fort Bragg since 2003. He lives outside of Fayetteville, North Carolina, and saw the damage caused last year by Hurricane Matthew, a smaller storm, which flooded the Fayetteville/Fort Bragg area and caused weeklong power outages.

“Matthew brought about 12 inches of rain and Fayetteville was under water,” Dardia said. “He’s planning on staying down by the beach? You probably wouldn’t want to do that. If this storm stalls like they say it will, it will be worse.”

Dardia plans to stay at his home in Hope Mills.

“Personally, with what I do for work, it’s not too big a deal,” Dardia said. “But the big thing here to watch out for is all the pine trees coming down. The soil is all sand and the ground gets soaked and they just topple over.”

While the path of the storm is shifting, landfall is likely somewhere between Myrtle Beach in northern South Carolina and the small coastal town of Hubert, North Carolina, where Alica Mitchell lives.

Mitchell, 36, is from New Vineyard, Maine. She’s lived in North Carolina for three years with her 8-year-old son Mason.

“I’m about 10 minutes from the beach. I used to be directly next to a boat landing so I am glad we’ve moved a little farther back,” she said.

Mitchell is leaving her home Thursday morning to travel farther inland and bunk with friends in Richlands, North Carolina.

“I feel like we’re probably both going to get about the same as far as rain and flooding but they have two generators and with our combined food efforts we should be able to make it out OK,” said Mitchell, estimating the group has food for a week.

She experienced the pre-disaster rush for provisions Tuesday, driving past four sold-out gas stations before finding one where she could fill up.

“Then I went to the local Walmart and the baby wipes aisle was completely bare and the teriyaki beef jerky shelves were completely bare,” she said. “They had plenty of bread, surprisingly. But no peanut butter.”

Rather than boarding up her windows, Mitchell pushed as much as she could to the center of the rooms and made sure cherished mementos and photos were off the floors.

She spent most of her prep time helping to board up the beach-side restaurant she manages in Morehead City and making sure co-workers were out of harm’s way. Perishable foods were donated to fire departments and shelters, and a refrigerated truck came to cart off what could be saved for later use.

Mitchell said being a Mainer helps, at least emotionally.

“I feel like we make it through enough severe snowstorms, we’ve lost power enough times,” Mitchell said. “The situation at hand is different but the outcome is the same. The preparedness is pretty similar.”


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