PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Every evacuee from Tropical Storm Florence has a story about who and what they left behind. One teen evacuated to Pittsburgh is among them.
The scenes from the storm are heart-wrenching, counties on the coast of North and South Carolina with catastrophic damage, and the evacuated teen KDKA-TV News spoke to knows he is fortunate after being separated from his sisters and his mom.
Gabe Casamisi made it to Pittsburgh just in time, thanks to his loving girlfriend, Molly McDowell, and her family from Bethel Park who paid for him to get out of harm’s way.
“I gave all my family members hugs, told my pets I would see them later and I left,” Gabe said.
He reluctantly left knowing he was leaving his family behind.
“I just wanted to get my family out,” he said. “I don’t think [Gabe’s mom] wanted me to go because she wanted me to help, but at the same time, she wanted me to be safe.”
Molly began to panic when she started seeing the rainfall, storm surge and battering wind predictions of then Hurricane Florence.
The granddaughter of former KDKA-TV anchor Al McDowell knows a thing or two about researching information.
“I was literally just sending picture after picture after picture, posting on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, every social media platform I have,” Molly said.
Turns out, it was fortunate Gabe listened. His home of Newport, N.C., was hit tremendously hard and is under water.
“It was scary seeing everything on the internet thinking I use to live there, I still live there, and having to go back to see how much the storm has destroyed,” Gabe said.
Molly lived near Newport for a decade in the town of New Bern, where roads are underwater and people are stranded.
The Cajun Navy rescued many animals there, including a kitten taking comfort inside the hood of his rescuer.
Gabe still doesn’t know if his home is OK, but the worst part for him is over. Communication dropped off from his mom and family and then finally a text came through.
“It was actually pretty scary, the message she sent me: ‘I’m letting you go, God blessings I love you,’” Gabe said. “It kind of scared us but then she contacted us this morning and said her phone was acting up or something like that and she’s fine.”
The scenes of the damage out of North Carolina near the teen’s home where he hears his town is partially submerged are hard to wrap his mind around. The rainfall from Tropical Storm Florence in some parts of North Carolina is up to 16 inches and it’s still coming down.