Wilmington evacuee takes refuge in Norfolk, but worries about home in NC


NORFOLK, Va (WAVY) — As floodwaters rise in areas impacted by Hurricane Florence, the death toll is expected to rise with it.

Right now there is only one road open leading into the city of Wilmington.

It had been completely cut off from the rest of the state.

Many people left Wilmington ahead of the storm. One man, Fred Hardy, ended up in Norfolk.

“Floyd, Fran, Gloria, Bertha, so after seeing those hurricanes normally we stayed,” Hardy explained thinking about past natural disasters.”

For Hardy and his roommate Tom Witherspoon, riding out hurricanes was just part of the deal when they moved to the coast.

But Florence is different.

“We kept hearing a lot from this hurricane, they were saying Category 4 and we kept looking at it getting closer so we decided and they were telling people to get out and this the first time it’s happened like this since I’ve been in Wilmington, so I got out,” Hardy said. 

They headed for safety to his former home in Norfolk, not knowing in just a matter of days the city he’s come to love would become an island separated from the rest of civilization.

“I pray a lot, and I cry sometimes, over the last few days I’ve had, I’ll admit it, I’ve had some tears,” he said.

“It is scary and I have a lot of anxiety because I don’t know what’s going on as far as my property,” he added.

Combined with the cost of temporary relocation, this evacuation is adding up

“I’m looking at probably paying $2,000 this week with car rentals and hotel costs,” Hardy explained.

Continuous updates from watching state leaders on 10 On Your Side has kept his spirits up

“The waters will recede, and when they do, we are ready to take on the challenge of rebuilding the communities.  My promise to the people of North Carolina is this.  North Carolina is with you, and we are in it for the long haul,” said Gov. Roy Cooper in a Sunday press conference

But he says it’s his faith that will lead him back home.

“They bounce back and we will too, so you can come back down to Wilmington, cause next time you come back down we’re gonna be just like you remember it,” Hardy said. 

Hardy says he has faith his home does not have much damage. But he said one of the first things he wants to do when he gets back is to not only assess his home, but also find a way to help others also impacted.

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