Family who fled Puerto Rico during Maria has no choice but to ride out Florence in North Carolina

The last 48 hours have been an emotional rollercoaster for De Nise family.

“We are a family of five that grew to a family of seven,” said Evelyn De Nise.

Almost a year ago, De Nise’s mother and grandmother fled Puerto Rice after their neighborhood was ravaged by Hurricane Maria. Their house was left without power.

Electricity is a necessity for De Nise’s 92-year-old grandmother who is recovering from a brain aneurysm.

“First initial thought was let’s put them into cruise ships because that was one of the ways they could leave the island, but we couldn’t get to the cruise ship fast enough,” said De Nise. “So the next step was let’s put them on the list for the health department, who would put them on the medically fragile list and organizations that were donating flights or planes that were chartered by them and putting those who were sick first.”

After a three-week ordeal, a chartered plane ride and 12 more hours of anxious waiting at the airport, De Nise’s mother and grandmother were safe in Florida.

One year later, the De Nise family is now in North Carolina. However, their strength is being tested again.

“I made a phone call to the doctor and they said to get her out, but with her condition not being fully recovered from her recent stroke, it would be too risky just to move her,” said De Nise.

Hurricane Florence is expected to make landfall just miles from their home. The devastation could be even worse than what they saw with Hurricane Maria.

Just a month ago, De Nise’s grandmother suffered another debilitating stroke. Evacuation is not on the table this time.

“We have enough water,” De Nise said. “We have two generators. We have portable air conditioning units. We have about 100 gallons of water. We have 100 gallons of gas. We're just going to try to ride it out.”

De Nise is mother of three and the wife of a Marine. Her husband has been deployed a handful of times to Iraq and Afghanistan.

On Wednesday, her own son was activated for National Guard duty.

Resilience is in this family's DNA.

“If it wasn’t for her, I don't know what would have happened,” said Evelyn Berrios, De Nise’s mother. “She's been great. She's been the best daughter in the world.”