Terrified by Irma, Triangle family worries about Florida relatives

YOUNGSVILLE, North Carolina (WTVD) -- When the news broke Tuesday morning of Irma's frightening new strength as a Category 5 hurricane, Carolina Kavanaugh got right on the phone to her older brother Ricardo and sister Sofia down in Miami.

Stay on top of breaking news stories with the ABC11 News App

"I'm really nervous for my family," Kavanaugh said.

She and her siblings were all born and raised in south Florida, but now Carolina lives in Youngsville with her husband and three children. All of them anxiously watched Irma's track with concern about her family.

"When you see that cone headed right towards your family, it incites a lot of anxiety," she said.

Carolina's daughter, Tessa is 9 years old and most of what she knows about hurricanes has been learned in the last week, with the scary reports about the deadly flooding in Texas from Hurricane Harvey.

"A really bad storm, powerful wind and floods," Tessa described.

Tessa wants her aunt to evacuate Miami.

"Come to our house," she said when asked what she would tell her Aunt Sofia.

RELATED: Hurricane Irma now a Category 5: Will it hit North Carolina?

Tessa's mom agrees.

"It's hard because you feel silly if you make a big deal out of it and put shutters everywhere and evacuate and it doesn't hit, then you feel kind of dumb," Kavanaugh said. "But to me, it's safety first. I wish they would leave."

Irma could hit Florida as the first Cat 5 hurricane to strike the U.S. since Andrew in 1992.

Carolina survived Andrew's devastating wrath in south Florida with her brother and sister back then.

And on Tuesday, store shelves emptied, as Floridians scrambled to prepare again. Sofia told Kavanaugh she waited an hour in line Tuesday for bottled water.

"People were already starting to cut in line; people get nervous," Kavanaugh said. "And I'm really glad (my sister) got to the store today and didn't wait until tomorrow or the next day."

Meantime, there is still the chance Irma could have an impact here in North Carolina, something the Kavanaugh family is also concerned about. They've got relatives out on our coast, too - living in Wilmington.

Join me on Facebook and follow me on Twitter.
Copyright © 2020 WTVD-TV. All Rights Reserved.