Local man recalls living in Wilmington, NC: If they said, 'Leave,' I moved inland.

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PAINTSVILLE, Ky. (WYMT) - Watching TV for updates on the devastation caused by Hurricane Florence, Rick Roberts says he is reminded of what it was like to live and work in Wilmington, North Carolina many years ago.

He says maintaining a power grid during a hurricane is anything but easy.

"You are out there working like 16-hour shifts," Roberts said.

He remembers helping linemen with the company, Four County Electric, get the power back up and running. Now he fears crews are going to face an extensive challenge during Hurricane Florence.

"Those guys are dead tired for weeks. This one is going to be bad."

With natural disasters, it is difficult to anticipate what is to come. Storm surges of the past remind Roberts that anything is possible.

"I'm sitting outside in a lawn chair looking at the sky, watching the sky boiling, clouds going at 70, 80 miles per hour."

Looking into the distance he recalls feeling more than high winds and heavy rain coming from the hurricane.

"A tornado dropped down in a small community probably of about 300 people and killed about 5 or 6. It just tore it all to pieces," Roberts said.

He says people should listen and choose to move inland when rescue teams urge them to leave.

"All of them have homes. I hope they still have their homes after this is all over."

Roberts moved back to Kentucky nearly eight years ago.

He has friends still living near the coast who plan to stay in their homes. He says he is appreciative of local rescue teams lending help to those in desperate need.

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