BOYNTON BEACH (CBSMiami) — Residents at Briny Breezes mobile home park in Boynton Beach spent Sunday afternoon loading up their cars and deciding which precious items to take with them as they evacuate ahead of Hurricane Dorian.

Palm Beach County leaders ordered a mandatory evacuation order at 1 pm for mobile homes, homes in low-lying areas and the barrier islands.

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Kathy Gross and her husband live in Briny Breezes and are evacuating to their church.

“We have to evacuate to stay safe,” she said. “We don’t want to die here.”

The Gross’ were busy filling their car with important items and items to help them pass the time the next few days. They are hopeful the forecasts are correct and Dorian does not bring a direct hit here.

“What we’re looking at is probably wind and storm surge,” she said. “It looks like we won’t take a direct hit unless it wobbles a little bit.”

According to emergency officials, there is the possibility of storm surge of more than 3 feet above ground level.

Palm Beach County leaders say they have opened nine general population shelters and a shelter for pets and one for people with special needs. Sheriff Ric Bradshaw assured people that they are immigration status would not be an issue when they arrive at a shelter.

“If you’re in an evacuation area, you bring yourself and your family there to those shelter, we’re not there to check your status in the US,” he said. “We’re there to protect you. So don’t be concerned about that in the slightest.”

The seven general population shelters are:

  • Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune Elem. School, 1501 Avenue U, Riviera Beach
  • Independence Middle School, 4001 Greenway Dr., Jupiter
  • Lakeshore Middle School, 425 W Canal St N, Belle Glade
  • Pahokee Middle School, 850 Larrimore Rd, Pahokee
  • Palm Beach Gardens High School, 4245 Holly Dr., Palm Beach Gardens
  • Palm Beach Central High School, 8499 Forest Hill Blvd, Wellington
  • Park Vista High School, 7900 Jog Rd, Lake Worth

The special needs shelter is located at 9067 Southern Boulevard, West Palm Beach. If you are registered, you should have received notification.

County leaders want everyone to heed the warnings and stay safe.

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If you go to a shelter in Palm Beach County, you are asked to bring 3 days’ worth of water, medications and a flashlight with extra batteries. In addition, county officials are urging people who want to evacuate to go south or west but not north. They are also recommending that people stay somewhere in Palm Beach County, if possible.

That is what many at Briny Breezes are doing.

“It’s hard to leave your home,” Gross said. “You just have to trust that God will protect it.”

On the mainland in Boynton Beach, handyman Ryan Kling said a client hired him to come to town from Leesburg, FL, to put plywood on a bunch of businesses. He said it has been non-stop work.

“Non-stop. All through the night,” Kling said. “It’s been crazy, hectic.”

Elsewhere, businesses like Panera Bread and Publix put up signs telling customers they are closed because of Hurricane Dorian and sandbags were stacked in front of the doors of a TD Bank on Woolbright Road.

It is a tense time with a hurricane churning off Florida shores and it is even tenser, says Briny Breezes resident Ira Friedman, because of what he sees across the street from his mobile home — a construction site with a trash bin full of what looks like loose debris.

“Rocks and garbage will destroy, these homes are not the strong,” Friedman said. “They’re built with 2×2’s not 2×4’s and that’s just thin aluminum. 40-50 mile per hour rock storm will destroy our homes.”

CBS4 News reached out by phone and text to a person affiliated with the construction project. We did not get a response regarding the security of the site.

For others, however, it was not a tense time. Surfers and kite boarders enjoyed the waves and a brilliant rainbow made a brief appearance across the horizon on the ocean. People who live in Briny Breezes say all they can do is heed the warnings and hope for the best.

“I just hope we come back to safety,” said Barbara Klink, as she and her husband, Roger, took one last look at the ocean before evacuating on Sunday night.

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