ELON, N.C. -- Hurricane Irma is blasting through the Caribbean islands as it makes its way towards the U.S. mainland. For a lot of the people in the Southeast there are many of what ifs.
“'Catastrophic storm headed towards Florida' and I was like what?” said Rachel Ellis as she reflected on a news headline she read.
“I didn't really think it was going to be that bad and so my initial reaction was more like shock,” she continued.
The news that Category Five Hurricane Irma could be aiming directly towards Ellis' Coral Gables childhood home off the South Florida coast has been unsettling.
“There could be severe damage to the house. I happen to live right on the water. So, they have these 25-foot wave predictions so that's definitely been a concern for my family,” she explained.
Ellis is a junior at Elon University and hundreds of miles away from where her mom and dad are preparing for potential impact.
“They are still saying it's going to be OK but there's more of a realistic twist to it,” she mentioned.
While Irma's path is unpredictable at this point and as Ellis’ parents prepare for the worst back home, it's only thing she says matters.
“Material things can be fixed but as long as my family is OK then I’m OK,” she stated.
Ellis says her parents are planning to stay in Miami with a family friend.
Right now, they're making final preparations for their home.