MN native in hurricane's path: 'I'd rather deal with tropical storms than blizzards'

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KARE - MINNEAPOLIS - There are many people with Minnesota ties bracing for Florence to make landfall Thursday night.

That includes volunteers on the ground to help with storm recovery, but also Minnesota natives who now call the Carolinas "home."

Growing up in Mankato and going to college at the University of St Thomas, Kelly Knutson never expected to find herself in the path of a hurricane.

“Everyone has been boarding things up, shutting things down,” Knutson says.

She lives on the Outer Banks of North Carolina where most communities are under a mandatory evacuation.

Her home in Corolla is in a voluntary evacuation zone, so she has decided to stay put.

"I’m staying with some friends, because I’m only two blocks from the ocean,” Knutson explains.

“Their house is a little bit higher up. The biggest concern here isn’t wind, it’s flooding.”

Meanwhile, about 150 miles away in Newport News Virginia, fellow Minnesotan PJ Doyle is setting up shelter.

"Right now we’re just waiting to see what mother nature does," Doyle says.

Doyle is one of 40 Red Cross volunteers from Minnesota who were deployed to help out during the storm.

"We’re expecting the maximum storm impact around 2:00 a.m. Friday,” Doyle says.

She shelter she’s working at is one of the biggest in Virginia. Doyle says it can hold more than 1,600 people.

She’s ready for the challenge, because she has dealt with dozens of hurricanes in her 27 years with the Red Cross.

“We’re prepared and standing by," Doyle says.

For Knutson though, the hurricane will be her first. She has seen numerous tropical storms in her four years since moving away from home, but she’s never seen a storm like this.

“It’s not a blizzard like I’m used to but now I’m dealing with a much different type of storm,” Knutson says.

“Despite the ocean’s wrath, I don’t think I could ever move away.”