People in the path of Hurricane Florence are boarding up their homes and businesses and leaving behind messages for the massive storm that’s headed their way.
In Wilmington, North Carolina, a bar has boarded up its windows. The boards are painted over with the silhouettes of people, and the words “ILM Strong” – a reference to the code for Wilmington International Airport.
“The forecast may be daunting but no force can stifle the spirit of downtown Wilmington,” the pub, Tavern Law 1832, posted on its Instagram account.
The locally owned and operated tavern wanted to display a sign of strength for the community.
“As I write this I am surrounded by 20 hard core locals who are here expressing concern for one another and general consensus is most are staying to brave the storm for better or worse,” one of the bar’s owners told CNN in an Instagram message from the Tavern Law account. “People have been signing the board as they walk by.”
In Rodanthe, North Carolina, on the Outer Banks, artist Randi O’Sullivan and her husband Blake evacuated their home on Tuesday morning along with their dog Bertha.
Before leaving, O’Sullivan painted the message “F off Flo!” on the plywood they used to protect their home that they’ve lived in for almost eight years.
“Have never left for a hurricane but this one scares us, and I am pregnant so don’t want to be cut off from hospitals/etc. in case of emergency. Hopefully we are just being overprepared,” O’Sullivan, who is due in February, told CNN. “Spent all day yesterday prepping the outside of our home, tying things down, bringing things inside and boarding windows.”
Hurricane Florence strengthen to a Category 4 on Tuesday and is expected to make landfall Friday morning in the Carolinas, current forecasts show. More than 1 million people faced a choice Tuesday: stay home and take their chances with the storm, or compete with heavy traffic to drive inland.
In Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina, the boards covering the Redix general store list off the names of the storms it’s been through in the past.
Flo was added to the long list of names on the plywood, including, Irene, Ophelia, Dennis and Hanna. Redix Store opened up in this location in 1969, touting itself as a one-stop shop for the area.
In Leland, North Carolina, a colorful handwritten sign reading “go away Hurricane Florence” hangs on the front door of the Lyons family home.
9-year-old Bella is battling pneumonia but wanted to help her family with the hurricane preparations.
In Southport, North Carolina, boards on one home read “stay’n and pray’n.” Tim Terman took this photo of a home near his own on Tuesday.
Terman’s family members have been pressuring him to evacuate, he said, but he is staying put – for now.
“Once you leave, (it will be) hard to get back in to check on damage,” he told CNN. “My home is all my wife and I have, materially speaking, a lifetime of stuff.” They say their house is about 20 feet above sea level.
Terman, who said his wife already had plans to take a trip, will make his final decision Wednesday.
CNN’s Steve Almasy, Gisela Crespo, David Williams and Paul P. Murphy contributed to this report.