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Some sleeping on the floor, others stressed as Palmetto Bays shelter at capacity

BJ Coleman and Jessica Myers, husband and wife, moved to Conway, SC for tree trimming work. They evacuated to the Palmetto Bays Elementary School. Hurricane Florence came ashore at Wilmington, NC Friday morning Sept. 14, 2018. The eye of he storm is expected to move down the coast to the Myrtle Beach area and then move slowly west causing severe flooding as it trundles inland.
BJ Coleman and Jessica Myers, husband and wife, moved to Conway, SC for tree trimming work. They evacuated to the Palmetto Bays Elementary School. Hurricane Florence came ashore at Wilmington, NC Friday morning Sept. 14, 2018. The eye of he storm is expected to move down the coast to the Myrtle Beach area and then move slowly west causing severe flooding as it trundles inland. jsimmons@charlotteobserver.com

The shelter at Palmetto Bays Elementary School on S.C. 544 has a shortage of cots, pillows and blankets, leaving some people to sleep on the floor, Red Cross officials said.

BJ Coleman, 38, said he is kicking himself for only bringing a blanket, thinking a cot would have been provided. He and his wife, Jessica Myers, have been sleeping on the floor every night since Tuesday, they said.

On top of that, the two Pennsylvania natives are under a lot of stress.

“I’m scared to death,” 26-year-old Myers said. “I don’t even like rain.”

Red Cross employee Bill Capehart said Friday the shelter at Palmetto Bays has been at full capacity for the past two days — with 480 people, 37 of whom are children under age 6 — and everyone is doing what they can to make themselves comfortable under the circumstances.

“I’m just trying to make myself feel at home,” said Simone Brown, who also has been here since Tuesday.

But she’s finding it a lot more difficult than she anticipated, she said.

Capehart said officials were waiting on another shipment of cots, blankets, pillows and a medical cart, which also will support the 55 patients who were evacuated to the shelter from area hospitals.

On the other hand, there’s plenty of food and water to last through the foreseeable future, Capehart said. Even after Tropical Storm Florence passes and people start leaving to check on their property, Red Cross officials expect many to come back because of flooding. And they’re ready for that, Capehart said.

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