Ignoring warnings of high winds and life-threatening storm surges, some of the 6.3 million Floridians under evacuation order have decided to stay put as Hurricane Irma tears through their state. "It's a crap shoot really," said one such holdout, Ed Brown, who lives on an island near Fort Myers Beach. "I've been a gambler my whole life. I'm gonna roll the dice." Others are staying out of necessity, unable to move ill or elderly relatives.
In Key West, some locals booked rooms in rapidly emptying hotels, preferring to stay in a heftier building than the wooden "conch houses" common on the island. "It's a little like the Titanic right now," said Kim Sylar, a Key West teacher who decided to ride out the storm in a hotel room. "But I have a feeling it will be okay."
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Administrator Brock Long on Saturday reiterated holdouts are "on your own until we can actually get in there" and "you put your life in your own hands by not evacuating."