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Long Islanders who moved south either ride out Florence or escape to drier ground

Photo taken last year of former Elmont resident

Photo taken last year of former Elmont resident Joe DiDomizio in front of his home in Matthews, in North Carolina, which is southeast of Charlotte. Credit: Pat DiDomizio

Susan Mitarotondo and her husband, Dennis, moved from Holbrook to the North Carolina coast on Sept. 9. Two days later they evacuated to a cabin in the Smoky Mountains as Hurricane Florence approached. They don’t know whether their home has been damaged.

“There’s nothing you can do,” Mitarotondo said from Franklin, North Carolina. “You wait and ride it out and pick up the pieces then.”

The Mitarotondos are among the Long Islanders — some of whom had homes damaged in 2012 by superstorm Sandy — who now live in the Carolinas and are enduring Florence.

Mitarotondo, 64, said she’s heard that the area around their home in Ocean Isle Beach has no electricity and that some roads are closed. They bought the home because “we wanted to be by the water,” she said.

Self-imposed beach ban

Pamela Strobel, 71, on the other hand, deliberately chose to live inland when she and her late husband, Leon, moved from Lindenhurst to South Carolina four years ago after accepting a federal buyout for their Sandy-damaged home.

As parts of the Carolinas were being deluged by floods and battered by high winds, Strobel said rainfall and winds outside her home weren’t any worse than several other storms this year.

“I couldn’t move near the beach,” she said from a part of Myrtle Beach about 10 miles from the coast. “I had enough of Sandy. I’ll visit people who live on the beach. I’ll stay there. But I’ll never live there.”

Initiating Plan B

After hearing dire forecasts about Florence, Joe DiDomizio, 31, formerly of Elmont, and his parents left the Charlotte area for his girlfriend’s place in suburban Atlanta. The storm so far hasn’t been as bad as feared, but DiDomizio said “my parents are happy they got out of town. Just in case. Better to be safe than sorry.”

Sticking it out, with ice cream

Smiti Shah, 18, of Bethpage, said about a third of the 50 students on her dorm floor at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, left because of the storm. Although there were heavy winds and rain Friday night, Shah that on Saturday it was “not really that bad. In fact, I went out and got ice cream.”

“There wasn’t a reason to go home,” she said. “I’m really glad I stuck it out.”

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