As of Thursday night, mandatory evacuations are in place for around 150,000 Palm Beach County residents ahead of Hurricane Irma. They are in areas that are particularly vulnerable to storm surges, including all the homes in the town of Palm Beach Shores.
“We’re trying to get our plan together. If we could, we’d like to stay,” Mark Neary, a Palm Beach Shores homeowner said on his couch, with his family and neighbors. “We have a full family here, it’s not just pack up the car and leave, you know?”
He says there are six families on his street that already decided they are staying, despite the mandatory county evacuation order.
Whether they stay or go, they spent the Thursday preparing the home and boat.
“Today I employed these two boys to put up my storm shutters. Get everything around the house and going to fly,” he said, pointing to the teenagers.
They also spent time watching the forecast evolve on television and listened to Florida Governor Rick Scott’s warnings.
“We can rebuild your home, we just can’t rebuild your family,” Scott has said repeatedly from various Florida Emergency Operations Centers.
Ultimately, Mark says, their decision to leave will come down to the location of Irma’s eye.
“If we think that the eye of the storm is going to head west of us or west of I-95, we have a plan to go to the west coast (Tampa specifically.)”
“Kind of nervous I’m thinking about Texas,” Logan Sorensen said. “That could happen or it could be worse or it could be better.”
They’re also excited. A lighter moment when their dog, Bella, sniffed our camera. Everyone broke into laughs.
For now, they watch, they wait.
“Some people say that might not be the smartest but like my wife said, we’ve done this several times, (and) we’re willing to take a chance.”
The evacuation order goes into effect at 10 a.m. Friday.