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‘You don’t want to be floating down 31’ : Residents hunkering down at local shelter

Seeking shelter from Hurricane Florence

Residents of Horry County SC are streaming into the shelter at Loris High School Thursday Sept. 13, 2018, as Hurricane Florence bears down on the Pee Dee Region of South Carolina
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Residents of Horry County SC are streaming into the shelter at Loris High School Thursday Sept. 13, 2018, as Hurricane Florence bears down on the Pee Dee Region of South Carolina

Kirra Bellamy, 23, is from Loris and went to Loris High School, where she is now seeking shelter from Hurricane Florence.

For Hurricane Matthew, she and her family decided to stay in their mobile home.

They nearly flooded and went days without power. They decided to not let that happen again.

“You don’t want to be floating down (S.C.) 31 when you have a safe schoolhouse,” she said.

She is familiar with the school and works as a substitute teacher. She said it felt like coming home in a way, even if she wishes she didn’t have to evacuate.

“You’re basically living for free here,” she said.

She said the Red Cross volunteers have been friendly and helpful to people coming in.

Conway High School is the largest storm shelter in Horry County ahead of Hurricane Florence. The shelter has a theater, showers and should have power during the storm.

Mike Boen, also from Loris, debated whether he should leave. His mother uses an oxygen tank and he was concerned for her safety, so he left, too.

He said the shelter was the best place to be, and had room to walk around.

“I’d rather be here than in my house when the windows blow in,” he said.

He also was living in Loris for Hugo, and first fled to Savannah, Georgia. But then he felt unsafe there, so he went to Charlotte, North Carolina, which was also hit by Hugo.

Seeking shelter, for him, was the best solution to make sure he and his mom were safe.

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The Young family debated whether their entire family should seek shelter at Loris High School.

Half wanted to, half didn’t, Mary Young of Loris said.

Ultimately, they packed up their 20-member family into a convoy of cars and headed to the school.

This isn’t their first time seeking shelter. During Hurricane Hugo, they were in the old Loris Middle School.

The Red Cross is continuing to work with local governments to make sure the shelters are prepared for the storm.

People need to bring their own supplies and bedding.

Follow more of our reporting on Hurricane Florence

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