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Hurricane Irene: Why One Couple Isn't Heeding Evacuation Orders

Cars pass a mandatory evacuation sign on Hatteras Island in the North Carolina.
Nicholas Kamm
AFP/Getty Images
Cars pass a mandatory evacuation sign on Hatteras Island in the North Carolina.

Hurricane Irene is forecast to hit North Carolina hard. The National Hurricane Center says it will be a major Category 3 hurricane as it makes landfall, so state officials have ordered evacuations of the Outer Banks, the barrier islands exposed off the Carolina's Atlantic coast.

As always, there are those who stay put. All Things Consideredhost Melissa Block spoke to a husband and wife who live in Ocracoke, N.C. and they're planning on weathering the storm at home.

"Everything we own is here and we're gonna stay and take care of it," said Leslie Lanier, the owner of a book store on the island.

Lanier told Melissa that her family has evacuated many times in the past. For one hurricane she was pregnant, for another she had small children. This time around, there are lots of reasons to stay, she said. First she wants to protect her things. Second, it's expensive to leave and third, it's hard to get back after a storm.

Melissa pressed Lanier. Things are looking bad. Is she not having second thoughts?

"It'll be fine," she said. "It's all gonna be good."

Lanier's husband, Beaver Tillett is a commercial fisherman. He told Melissa that he's worried about what the hurricane will do to his fishing season. He knows things will get bad. Water will be waist deep, neck deep in some places, he said. But, he said, it's scarier being away than staying home.

Melissa asked him how he explained that.

"It's just born in you," he said. "It's just everybody that's always lived here, I mean through the years and generations; we're from here and it's just what you had to do. Years ago you didn't know a storm was coming until it was too late, so you had no choice but to stay."

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Eyder Peralta
Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.