Hurricanes

Robeson County hotels fill up as people flee Irma

Posted September 8

— Robeson County was flooded a year ago by Hurricane Matthew, but now it's being flooded by people from Florida who are evacuating ahead of Hurricane Irma.

In Lumberton, drivers are pulling off Interstate 95 and into motels like the Best Western near Exit 22. The locations manager said the hotel was booked through Tuesday of next week.

Video from the area showed I-95 packed with traffic. Many of the vehicles have Florida license plates, but many others have plates from states farther north, too.

William Prizer and Frank Lafountain were staying at the Best Western. Both are from Florida and left before the storm hit.

Prizer, a stock broker with a house on the island of Sarasota Keys, said his place sits just 11 inches above sea level.

"What made me get out of there is the fact that, the down side (of leaving) is (if) you're wrong—sort of like investing in the stock market—way overwhelms the upside if you're right," Prizer said. "I did not want to leave. We've lived there a long time. This is my house."

It's not the first time the Robeson County hotels have housed people fleeing a hurricane, though. The final Hurricane Matthew victim checked out in August after living in the motel for 10 months.

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