A former Maine resident who had been weighing whether to evacuate his coastal South Carolina home says he will ride out Hurricane Florence.

David Redlon’s home in Myrtle Beach, S.C., was prepped for the storm by Wednesday. Redlon, originally from Windham, said he decided to “hunker down and ride out” his first hurricane.

David Redlon, who lived in Windham before moving to Myrtle Beach in April, had told the Portland Press Herald on Wednesday that he was considering leaving his home and joining family members and other former Mainers who had already evacuated. But Thursday morning he said he decided to hunker down and ride out his first hurricane.

Redlon said plenty of other people are staying, too, despite continued evacuation warnings from state and federal officials as the storm approaches. The hurricane was expected to make landfall early Friday and bring historic rainfall and flooding with a devastating storm surge to the Carolinas.

“I’m going to stay right here,” Redlon said Thursday morning. “I’m actually out playing disc golf with a few other people who are staying around.”

Redlon said he made the decision to stay after finding out the area where he lives is not in a flood zone.

His newly constructed home is about 3 miles from the Atlantic Ocean and was built to withstand hurricane winds. It came equipped with plywood and lag bolts for covering windows. Redlon said he has all the supplies he needs to ride out the storm, as do his friends who have also decided not to leave.

Florence’s winds had dropped from a peak of 140 mph to 100 mph Thursday night. That reduced Florence from a Category 4 hurricane to a Category 2, but forecasters warned that the widening storm – and its likelihood of lingering around the coast for days – will bring ocean water surging onto land and torrential rain, according to the Associated Press.

“It truly is really about the whole size of this storm,” said Ken Graham, director of the National Hurricane Center. “The larger and the slower the storm is, the greater the threat and the impact – and we have that.”

The forecast calls for as much as 40 inches of rain over seven days along the coast, with the deluge continuing even as the center of the storm pushes its way over the Appalachian Mountains.

Duke Energy, the nation’s No. 2 power company, said Florence could knock out electricity to three-quarters of its 4 million customers in the Carolinas, and outages could last for weeks. Workers are being brought in from the Midwest and Florida to help in the storm’s aftermath, the company said.

Maine is expected to be relatively unaffected by the storm. News Center Maine meteorologist Ryan Breton said the state will experience some high surf of around 4 to 6 feet. That surf was expected to lead to dangerous rip currents, possibly causing minor beach erosion Thursday night. The high surf could last into Friday, and some precipitation lingering from the storm could hit Maine early next week.

Thursday morning in Myrtle Beach, there were a lot of people along the shore taking photos and video of the surf, Redlon said. At the park where he was playing disc golf, residents who decided to stay during the storm were picking up sandbags to barricade their homes.

“It seems like a ton of people are sticking around,” he said.

By Thursday evening, Redlon said the forecast was calling for weaker winds.

“So far so good,” he said. “I think I will be alright.”

Other former Maine residents said they weren’t taking any chances.

Alicia Mitchell, who is originally from New Vineyard, said she and her 8-year-old son, Mason, left their home, which sits 10 minutes from the beach in Hubert, North Carolina. They’re riding out the storm with friends in Richlands. As of Thursday night, the rains were not as bad as she expected, but the brunt of the storm isn’t expected until Friday, she said.

“We’re far enough from the coast, I think we will be OK,” Mitchell said. “We have got food and water and drinks and wine for days.”

Geoff Dardia, a former Mainer and active-duty member of the U.S. Army, said he was staying in his home well inland near Fayetteville, North Carolina. But he said he expected severe flooding and fallen trees and wouldn’t advise anyone to stay near the coast.

By Thursday evening, Dardia, who is from Kennebunkport, said the winds were picking up, but only a light rain was falling. He and his 10-year-old daughter have some of their belongings packed in case flooding becomes an issue, like it did during Hurricane Matthew last year.

Dardia said his 42nd birthday is Friday. And it seems that Florence may be giving him a birthday present by passing to the south of him, before heading west and north.

“It’s literally doing a turn right around us. I think we’re literally dodging a bullet here,” he said. “Tomorrow during the daytime we’ll see how bad it’s going to get.”

Staff Writer Randy Billings contributed to this report.

Gillian Graham can be contacted at 791-6315 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: grahamgillian

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