BOYNTON BEACH, Fla. -- Many Floridians hit the road or flew out days ago to avoid Hurricane Irma. Others are left to stick out the storm and hope for the best.
"There are kind of gusty winds—a few of them coming now," said Chanda Thompson as a big gust blew her hair across her face.
She and her mom spent Saturday afternoon at their front door, peering out at the sky as Irma's first bands of rain and wind blew across their Boynton Beach neighborhood.
"It's definitely coming," said Chanda.
Chanda and her mom, who moved to southeast Florida from the Twin Cities several years ago, say they've made space in a windowless cubby of their home and are ready to ride out Hurricane Irma.
They had initially planned to evacuate, but decided to stay put Wednesday.
"We've heard so many people that we know that have tried to leave and that were on the road," said Chanda. "There was no gas.... We really had to just make a quick decision on what we wanted to do.... We figured that we would be safer here than potentially be stranded on the road with no gas and really no shelter."
Across the state in the Tampa suburbs, Rickey Lyon has left his own home near Orlando to help his mom brace for the storm.
"My mom wasn't willing to move out, so we decided that we would hunker down here," said Rickey as he walked through his mother's yard.
With Irma on target Saturday for a direct hit on Tampa, Rickey and his mom have watched the hurricane's path closely.
"We're hoping that that westerly course continues on its track to push it further out into the Gulf," said Rickey.
He's spent the past few days helping his parents stocked up on bottled water, fill the bath tubs so the toilets will flush, and clear debris and potential projectiles from the yard.
"They do have hurricane shatter proof resistant windows, and she just replaced her roof this year," said Rickey.
"So we're pretty optimistic on how the house will hold up."
Other Floridians had planned to stay put but changed their minds and evacuated as Irma drew closer to landfall. Evacuee packed the highways, causing commutes out of state to take hours longer than normal, as many flee and other stay put and brace themselves for a monster storm.