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"We don’t know if our home is still there," Hurricane evacuees flee to Orangeburg County

Many evacuees stopped through Santee on Wednesday as they head north ahead of Hurricane Ian.

ORANGEBURG COUNTY, S.C. — Florida evacuees from Hurricane Ian are on the road, many stopping in Orangeburg County along the way. 

Carl and Terry Lamitie have lived in Florida for fourteen years and say they've never experienced anything like this.

“Very scary yesterday morning. They had closed down our motel that we were in, we anticipated staying in. We had to hit the road about 5:30 in the morning," said Carl.

RELATED: Orangeburg County emergency services braces for heavy rain, flooding ahead of Hurricane Ian

They made a pit stop in Santee enroute to North Carolina where they plan to stay with family. They live in a mobile home in Palmetto, Florida, not far from the eye of the storm.

“We don’t know if our home is still there," said Carl, "We came from a mobile home," adds Terry, “It’s right in the middle of where it’s going, the storm is going.” 

RELATED: Santee hotels brace for influx of guests ahead of storm

In a haste, they say they've packed as much as they can.

“We’re packing nothing and everything, you know, you have to look at it and realize it’s just stuff. You just take the essentials and you go," said Terry.

Kevin and Ruby visit family in Florida every year. This year, a mandatory evacuation cut their stay short.

“We go to Florida every year. We’ve never actually gone like this late in the summer. We always go in mid-July, early August but this is the first year we’ve come so late like early September so this is the first time experiencing a hurricane," said Kevin.

Martin and Denise Krall were headed south to Florida for the winter from New York. They decided to stay in Santee where they feel safe.

“We’ve gone through some hurricanes in the past. Sandy was the biggie. Hurricane Hugo was a big one in Saint Croix. We know best to stay put even though right now it may not look like much of anything. It’s gonna get bad," they said.

Donna Agan and Lori Ploof also pivoted their plans in Santee while driving South for the colder months.

“We don’t know what we’re going back to. If we’re going back to anything and the whole thing is very scary," said Agan.

What's ahead on the other side of the storm is uncertain.

“Be safe. Hold on, but if you gotta evacuate get out. Don’t play the game. It’s not worth your life," said Ploof.

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