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Family Braves Hurricane Despite Mandatory Evacuations; They Say Everyone is Staying

In preparation for Hurricane Florence, Governor Ralph Northam of Virginia instituted a mandatory evacuation order on Monday for residents in Zone A. The powerful hurricane is slated to hit the coast of Virginia Beach this week and wreak destruction on the coast.

Apparently, some residents feel ready to handle the storm, and they're not leaving. One resident found out his neighbors do not plan to evacuate, so he and his family are staying home.

By Thursday, the Virginia Beach neighborhood should have been a ghost town, but instead, it was bustling with people boarding up windows, piling up sandbags and stocking up on supplies. One street, in particular, was lined with cars, tanks all recently topped off, in preparation for the coming storm.

Daryl Cummings says he and his family decided to stay and stick out Florence. He's been living in Virginia Beach for 50 years, and he's never had to evacuate before, so he doesn't think it's really necessary. He admits, though, that it did make him a little nervous.

Ultimately, though, he figured if all his 'smarter' neighbors are staying, that there was no reason to flee.

"I mean we asked people to the left of us and people to the right of us, that we considered to be smarter than us, 'hey are you staying?' and they said 'yes,'" said Cummings. "We never got a 'no.'"

"I take that back -- the one 'no' we got they were using it as a hurricane road trip opportunity," Cummings added.

The man says he did prepare. He spent hours in lines doing his grocery shopping, buying water, getting the tank filled and battening down the hatches around the home. He thinks they'll be okay, though.

"As long as people aren’t getting hurt it also brings together a bonding of a community and you do some things that you wouldn’t naturally do, especially when all your phones go dead."

Virginia authorities sternly disagree with the attitude that mandatory evacuations can be ignored, though. Historic levels of flooding were expected.

Authorities are warning that all kinds of unexpected dangers could lurk, such as sewage leaks in the water, or venomous snakes getting into homes due to flooding.

Rainfall from Florence was expected to hit as much as 20 to 30 inches in some areas, and storm surges were a concern.

Authorities warned that people who ignore the orders could be risking their lives because once the storm hits, emergency responders will not come to save anyone until the streets are safe again. People who stay behind are risking being stranded.

However, by Friday, Cummings and his neighbors found that the evacuation would have been unnecessary, and they probably saved themselves a lot of trouble. The evacuation orders were lifted as the storm took a turn to the south.

"The imminent threat of coastal flooding and high winds have passed for our coastal communities as Hurricane Florence has made landfall in the Carolinas and we believe it is safe for Virginians to begin returning home,” Northam said in a statement Friday. “We are shifting our focus to the expected inland flooding and damage to Southwest Virginia as Florence turns north this weekend."

Source: AOL
Photos: DoD, CBS 6 Screenshots

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