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WILMINGTON, North Carolina. -- Early Thursday morning, things were eerily quiet alongside Wrightsville Beach just outside of Wilmington, North Carolina. The beach is Ground Zero of Hurricane Florence, expected to make landfall near the beach on Friday morning and bring storm surges that may exceed ten feet along parts of the coast.

“It’s weird... It’s just weird not seeing anyone on the beach. Not seeing the birds, anything on the beach," one beach visitor said, “We came to check on our beach house for the last time before they make everyone leave the island.”

But while thousands evacuate away from the North Carolina coast line, some Wilmington residents are choosing to stay and ride out the storm.

"I didn’t even consider leaving. I live here, I love it here, I’m on high ground so I’m not being totally ignorant of what’s coming and bearing down on us," said one Wilmington resident, "but I also want to see it and witness it and I have faith that everything is going to be good.”


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