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Home Depot passes out free plywood to residents before Hurricane Florence

WILMINGTON, N.C. (NEXSTAR) — Hurricane Florence is taking aim at North Carolina and could hit as a Category 2 storm.

High winds, flooding and storm surge are expected and thousands of people are evacuating the Carolina coastline to get out of harms way.

People are taking this storm very seriously with stores and homes being boarded up.

The barrier islands has been largely evacuated and some highways in the Carolinas have been reversed to help people get out of the path of this storm.

Many people on Wednesday were trying to take care of last-minute preparations in advance of the storm.

At the Home Depot in Wilmington, a line of people stood outside waiting to get in, hoping to buy last-minute supplies.

The store was scheduled to close at 10:30 a.m. but elected to stay open to help people in the community.

“The store was closed but they were giving out plywood, free,” said Risa Johnson, a Wilmington resident. “They were giving out five free sheets of plywood per family. You didn’t have to pay and they were even helping you load it into your cars.”

Julia Castellano and her family came to pick up plywood to board up their home.

“They were letting five people at a time go inside,” said Castellano. “There’s generators set up in the front and plywood in a certain area and that’s kind of what they have.”

They loaded up the plywood but wind isn’t their biggest concern.

“I know the winds are going to be hard and all, but at least we have plywood for that,” Castellano said. “We can’t really avoid flooding, so we are definitely will not stay where we live in that house.”

On Wrightsville Beach, people are boarding up and leaving.

The barrier island may get high storm surge and people are leaving. But some people are planning to stay in the area and will ride out Florence.

“Right now we are planning on staying,” said Aaron St. Juste, a Wilmington resident. “We are just kind of keeping an eye on the weather and reevaluating as we go. I feel like we have a little bit of time to change our minds.”

WFLA’s Jeff Patterson contributed to this report. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter.