Wrightsville Beach prepares for "something completely different" as Florence approaches

WRIGHTSVILLE, N.C. – People along the coast in North Carolina are preparing for what could be a direct hit from Hurricane Florence.

Evacuations are in place and officials are warning people to get out.

Local officials closed down the bridge to go to Wrightsville Beach, a mandatory evacuation with the lockdown starting at 8 p.m. Wednesday night. 

For many, this is the moment things start to get real.

Burak Erdem and his wife are soaking up every last drop of the calm while they can.

This is their personal paradise, a house along the bay in Wrightsville Beach with quite the story to tell.

"It survived Hazel in 1954, it survived Fran, Bertha and several others that made it to town," said Erdem.

On the other side of the island, you can hardly tell the next test, Florence, is barreling down on it. 

Ken Newton lives inland, but brought his dog Big Kahuna to the waves one last time before they shelter in place.

"We've got supplies for a week and I've got set up in the garage for him in case he needs to go to the restroom, and we're just going to ride it out. It's not our first one, but it's by far the largest," said Newton. 

Police locked down the bridge into Wrightsville Beach at 8 p.m. Wednesday with mandatory evacuations.

Inland, the evacuations are voluntary. Newton, Big Kahuna and some others are sticking it out.

"I'm a retired paramedic," said Newton. "I've been through several. I've been through Floyd, Bertha, Fran and half a dozen other smaller ones that come through here. But this is something completely different."

The Erdems are taking photos in case their paradise ends up completely different, but they've boarded up and done everything they can.

"I hope to think the house is built good enough, but it's also an old house, but there's nothing we can do other than hope that it will survive another hurricane," said Erdem. 

And as the last cars head off the island into the sunset, they're hoping for exactly the same.

The Erdems told 10 News if their house survives another one, they're thinking about a good way to mark yet another hurricane down.

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