NEW ORLEANS — No matter where you are along the southeast coast of Louisiana, forecasters predict wind gusts of at least 100mph, storm surges around 10 ft and rainfall up to a foot in depth.
The warnings present have forced many to make the difficult decision of whether to leave their homes and head to safety or hunker down and shelter in place.
WWL asked our viewers what decision they made and why they made, or were forced to make, their choice. Below are their stories.
Read all of the stories in the comment section of our post here.
"So little time" | The stories of those who stayed:
An inability to move disabled or elderly family members. Lack of transportation. Sick with COVID-19. Not having the money to leave.
The majority of commenters on our post did not make the choice to stay. Rather, they stayed simply because there was no way for them to leave.
For example, Michele Marie Seeman said she has elderly parents who couldn't make the drive to evacuate and Jessica Eschete said she stayed so her father with a disability wouldn't be alone.
Another commenter said their family only has one small vehicle and eight adults with disabilities, one who is on oxygen. They hope they will be able to move to a friend's house with a generator after the hurricane moves through as they don't have the money to travel anywhere.
Trudy Thibodaux, Jennifer Hopkins and Allison StBlanc all mentioned that they or their family members recently tested positive for COVID-19 and didn't want to get anyone else sick at a hotel or shelter they travel to.
Other viewers, like Viewer Veronica Brewer, have animals that they wouldn't be able to travel with inside of a car, especially if they get stuck on the highway. Other commenters shared her worries, with many owners of dogs, cats, lizards and pigs saying travel would be too difficult.
A lack of funds or a vehicle to travel in was also a largely shared problem among WWL viewers.
Commenter Brandi Kow posted that she has learned a lot about how people simply couldn't evacuate from the hurricane. She said the stories she's read point to structural failures in state and local emergency response.
"PTSD from Katrina" | The stories of those who evacuated:
A lot of commenters said that their experience during Hurricane Katrina that made landfall 16 years ago was why they evacuated.
Bert Roche said that he knows a lot of people who chose to stay during Katrina who were tramatized by the experience. Leslie Brodnax posted that she has "PTSD from Katrina" and couldn't stay.
Others said that keeping their children safe was their main reason for evacuating.
Tiffany Spears said that she has three young kids and didn't want to risk being without power for an extended period of time. LaToya M. Johnson said she wanted to give her five children a chance to escape the storm's damage.
Ultimately, whether people decided to hunker down or evacuate, the more than 1,000 comments show that people aren't alone no matter their situation, as Zellie Bridges said.
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