Evacuees flee the Carolina coast ahead of Hurricane Florence

Roads busy as thousands evacuate coast

GREENSBORO, NC (WBTV) - Thousands of residents and vacationers are on the road right now fleeing the projected path of Hurricane Florence.

I-40 and I-85 north of Greensboro were busy Tuesday as those evacuees seek a safe place to weather the storm.

The rest area in Alamance County near Burlington was packed most of the day.

Cynthia Whitmore and Deborah DeRocher are sisters. Deborah came to pick up Cynthia who lives in Garner and take her back to her home in Tennessee.

“I live alone and I have no family and she says she’s willing to come pick me up,” Cynthia said.

Many of the evacuees stopping at the rest area are carrying pets with them. Many are heading to homes of other family members or to hotels.

RELATED: Storm Surge, Hurricane Watches in effect as Florence eyes Carolinas

Kelsey Wigant, her family and two dogs, Rosie and Annie, are headed to Hickory. They just moved to Carolina Beach less than a month ago.

“From what we’ve seen, how it’s going to hit and the effects it will have, we’re not risking our whole family for it,” Wigant said.

“They said it’s going to be catastrophic damage there, so we got a hotel reserved for a week in Hickory and on our way,” said Ted Mahler.

Ted and Veneta Mahler live in Wilmington. They say they’ve ridden out storms before, but not this one, and judging by traffic, a lot of their neighbors felt the same way.

“We were stopped for miles on I-40 coming here already, just dead stopped, stopped again outside of Raleigh,” Mahler added.

Veneta Mahler said they she first tried to find a hotel in Asheville, but that most of them were filled. She was grateful to find a room available in Hickory.

Ted and Veneta Mahler left Wilmington ahead of Hurricane Florence.
Ted and Veneta Mahler left Wilmington ahead of Hurricane Florence. (David Whisenant | WBTV)

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