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Hurricane Holdouts Face Bonnie

Although federal emergency officials ordered evacuations for residents and tourists threatened by Hurricane Bonnie, some people are determined to stay behind and brave out the storm. CBS News Correspondent Jim Axelrod reports.

In Nags Head, N.C., Mary Nelson plans to stay home with her 2-year-old daughter. Nelson doesn't know what else to do.


"It's hard to leave," Nelson says. "You don't want to leave because you don't know when you'll be able to come back to the beach and check out your property. You don't know what's going to happen."

Nelson hopes Bonnie won't hit her home full force, so that she and her daughter can remain.

"If I do leave, it will be because of her," Nelson says, pointing to her daughter. "I would stay if it wasn't for her."

Nelson says she may go to a relative's house if the storm gets especially rough. She admits that part of the reason she is staying - besides being afraid to leave her belongings - is curiosity.

"You want to stay and see the storm. But you don't want to die, that's for sure."

Although the evacuations are mandatory, officials do not force people to leave their homes. They simply present the facts and rely on the good sense of residents to take shelter away from the brunt of the storm.

Ray Sturza
Ray Sturza, a spokesman for the Emergency Operation Center, said that authorities are concerned that some people have not taken warnings seriously enough. Although rescue workers will be in the affected areas, when the winds pick up to 55 mph, it's too dangerous to be outside walking or driving.

Michael White is another resident who refuses to leave.

"I have been here since '81 and I have yet to leave for a hurricane," White says. "Most of them have missed us. We've been lucky for years and years, you know."

The reluctance of residents to flee the hurricane is the exception, however. When Hurricane Fran hit the area two years ago, it was the worst disaster in the history of North Carolina. Fran caused $6 billion worth of damage. Since then, most people have been heeding the warnings and heading inland.

Sturza said that the devastation from Fran taught most people to be more cautious this time around.

"We had a very successful evacuation Tuesday," Sturza said.

In Kill Devil Hills along the North Carolina shore, two women have decided to stay home despite the warnings, Correspondent Steve Rudden of CBS News affiliate WUSA-TV in Washington, D.C., reports.

Sharon Melvin and her niece have bee watching the swells gain in strength along the shore.

Although Melvin is worried that she made the wrong decision to stay, she feels frozen.

"At this point, I feel like it's too late to make any decision and we're going to stay," she says.

Among the stragglers is one restaurant owner, who plans to stay open for customers. Gus Zinovis has owned Mulligan's Restaurant for three years and stayed through another storm, Hurricane Emily, in 1996.

Zinovis says that if the storm gets too bad, he will leave. In the meantime, he plans to guard his property, while his wife and two children have gone inland to a safer area.

"I don't think it's unsafe now," Zinovis said Tuesday morning. "If you look around, the sun is shining. It's a beautiful day."

Zinovis said that his restaurant was full of customers Tuesday night, even after the evacuation was ordered. Many diners included rescue workers, whom, he says, haven't told him to pack up.

Emergency officials will be on call 24 hours a day to help those in need, Sturza says, but they, too, must take shelter at their headquarters when Bonnie hits land at full force.

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