WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH, NC (CBSMiami) – The evacuation of the Wrightsville Beach and other areas of the North Caroline barrier island is pretty much over.
Everyone was told to leave and most people listened. Only residents are allowed in and that’s just to finish their preps.
Wednesday morning Governor Roy Cooper delivered a dire warning, calling Florence historic and vicious.
“We’re telling the people of North Carolina, do not try to ride out a monster. You put your own lives at risk and the lives of first responders,” said Cooper.
And people are heeding the warning. Wednesday was the last chance for people in Wrightsville Beach to prepare.
“I’m just boarding it up for my sister then I’m getting out,” resident David Duke told CBS4’s Ted Scouten.
Duke had already boarded up his future in-law’s place. When he finishes at his sister’s place and his house, he’s heading to Fayetteville.
“It just doesn’t seem like nothing to play around. Just get out and make sure where your going is safe as well,” he said.
Just down the street Peter Kramer and his family packed up food, family, and valuables after getting their house ready. They’ve been through this before and know storm surge will hit them.
“There’s our watermark from Hurricane Fran,” he said pointing to spot on a post in a storage room. “That’s how much water came through here in Hurricane Fran. We don’t know what the storm surge is going to be. We’re planning on it to be that or higher and just getting ready.”
He plans to ride out the storm with his family at his office on the mainland.
The surf and sand is home to Joe Bullard and Brooke Johnson. On Wednesday they took a last look before evacuating the island.
“Hopefully all these houses will be here when we get back. We love this beach. We live here year round. To see all these older houses, I just hope they’re here when we get back,” said Joe Bullard.
They spent the day clearing out their apartment. Facing a mandatory evacuation they are taking what they can and getting to higher ground.
“We’re planning to just get across the bridge and we’re staying with some friends over there in a brick house and hunker down and hope for the best,” said Brooke Johnson.
Some people didn’t need to be told twice to leave the island.
“As soon as we heard about the mandatory evacuation, it’s just like, we were leaving anyway. We weren’t staying for this one. We were not trying, being on the first floor we were not going to try to hunker down,” said Edward Eustace.
Eustace and his girlfriend pulled all their valuables and keepsakes out of their apartment and loaded everything into a U-Haul. They’re heading up to the Raleigh area. Even there, they expect a rough few days.
“It might not be exactly the best place to go, considering the inland rain we’re going to see, but it beats sitting on our roof hoping for a rescue,” said Eustace.
With the mandatory evacuation, everyone must be off the island by 8 p.m. Police have the ability to charge people if they do not heed the evacuation order.