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Hurricane Andrew leveled this Florida town. But some here will take their chances with Irma.


Homestead, Florida, knows exactly what a storm like Hurricane Irma can do. In 1992, Hurricane Andrew essentially leveled this town - taking out a military base and destroying thousands and thousands of homes. But even with that memory in their minds, many people in Homestead say they still won't evacuate for Irma.

We talked with people in a neighborhood called Leeward Isles, not far from the Atlantic coast. The ones who decided to stay had their reasons. Some told us they couldn't find open hotel rooms or simply couldn't afford them. Others talked about ill family members that would be tough to move. Fears of running out of gas were common. And we found there was a lot of negativity about the idea of going to a shelter and sharing space with strangers.

Moises Perez decided to keep his family at home. He spent Friday preparing for Irma with his wife and two young sons. They put all outside furniture inside the garage and parked a car against the door for protection. Perez paid a roving crew $100 to install hurricane shutters on all the windows on both floors of his house. We spotted several of these crews in just one neighborhood in Homestead.

More than 20 years ago, Perez says he survived Andrew at an ice cream shop owned by his uncle. The trailer his family lived in was nearly destroyed. But that doesn't change things for him when it comes to Irma. If things get dire, he says they'll move to the second floor and shelter in a bathroom.

"I'd rather hang out here with my family and hope for the best", Perez said.

His children aren't so sure. Perez's oldest, 9-year-old Moises, said he'd been having nightmares about the impending storm.

"I want us to be safe and my dad keeps saying that he's going to take care of us and I know that he is," he told us.

The family stocked up on supplies. They bought extra batteries for their electronics. The boys actually seem excited to trade in their electronics for board games.

In a shopping center nearby, preparations were hit or miss. While some businesses, including a Little Caesars, had boarded up and left, others, including a nail salon and Chinese restaurant, continued to serve customers. The local Publix had already sold its supply of water and bread, but customers continued to shop, almost like any normal day.

"Come check on us after the storm," Perez said. "We'll be here. We will survive."

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