Evacuee who left Wilmington for Richmond to escape Hurricane Florence: “I can’t believe we’re still here!”

Evacuee to Richmond: 'Can't believe we're still here'

MIDLOTHIAN, VA (WWBT) - Donna Blaney-Brouse and her husband packed up their two cats and clothes for a week and escaped Hurricane Florence by driving to Richmond last Wednesday; a week later, the family is still in Central Virginia, wondering when they will be able to go home.

"I can't believe we're still here," Blaney-Brouse said. "We thought we'd maybe be here for the weekend."

Blaney-Brouse and her husband are staying at the La Quinta hotel in Midlothian, unable to go back home.

"They told us there is no power, no internet, no phone," Blaney-Brouse said. "I was looking at Gas Buddy for gas and there is no gas for about 20 miles from our home and roads are still closed because of flooding."

But the hardest part for this couple is not knowing what has happened to their house.

“I’m usually a pretty resilient person, but I think I’m starting to lose that,” Blaney-Brouse said.

It also did not help that the area she and her husband escaped to saw multiple tornadoes on Monday.

“We were like ‘Oh my gosh, I can’t believe this is happening’ so yeah, I felt like we were jumping from the frying pan into the fire for sure,” Blaney-Brouse said.

Despite a rough week, Blaney-Brouse and her husband are in familiar territory. They lived in the Richmond area for a decade before moving to Wilmington a few months ago.

What's helping her get by? A little help from her friends.

"That companionship has been wonderful," Blaney-Brouse said. "We have so appreciated it."

Blaney-Brouse thinks she’ll be in Richmond for at least another two days. She did laundry at a friend’s house since she only packed enough clothes for a week.

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