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To go or stay? Evacuation orders create dilemmas for some in Southwest Florida

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Mike Walcher WGCU
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Mobile homes sit on the north bank of the Caloosahatchee River in North Fort Myers. Some people along the river loaded their cars to leave on Tuesday, while said they plan to ride out Hurricane Ian at home.

Parts of southwest Florida are under mandatory evacuation orders, but some people said they face a dilemma: Should they follow the orders and leave, or stay and ride out Hurricane Ian?

Isabel Rosier of North Fort Myers said she will stay, even though her home is only a block or so from the north bank of the Caloosahatchee River. "I feel we're going to be alright," she said.

Her neighbor Michael Horn has reached a different decision. "We are going to head to Palm Beach and get away from here," he said. "I am not afraid for myself, but I do worry about our property."

Horn said he moved to a house near the Caloosahatchee just about 18 months ago, and does not want to risk staying during a hurricane. "This area floods even during normal summer thunderstorms," Horn said.

Others said they are staying, but for different reasons. Sydni Van Horn, who lives in a mobile home about 150 feet from the north bank of the Caloosahatchee, said she is conflicted, but is staying.

"I feel like I should go, but I want to stay," she said. "I could not stand to leave and then come back to maybe find nothing. Need to hold the house down."

Krista Harbeck said she is staying in a mobile home along the river because her parents live nearby.

"I don't want to be far from them, and I know I can go to their place if it gets really bad," Harbeck said.

"I know I am in an evacuation zone, but I can't help it," she said. "I had to move here after my rent at an apartment went up so much that I could not afford it. I had to live somewhere, and this is it."

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Forty-one-year veteran of television news in markets around the country, including more than 18 years as an anchor and reporter at WINK-TV in southwest Florida.