Sevier County mom worries for children in Hurricane Matthew storm zone

Nicole Jenkins lives in Sevierville and her daughters, son and many more loved ones live in Northeast Florida.

SEVIERVILLE (WATE) – As coastal communities in Florida, Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina continue to be pummeled by Hurricane Matthew, an East Tennessee mom shared what it’s like to see those scary images, knowing that her loved ones are in the storm zone.

Nicole Jenkins lives in Sevierville and her daughters, son and many more loved ones live in Northeast Florida. Because she can’t drive down there to check on family, she’s been relying on text messages and social media posts to know everyone is okay.

“It’s been pretty hard to just sit back from a distance and watch,” she said.

More coverage: Hurricane Matthew

Some family lives in Gainesville and others, like her teenage daughter and parents, live in Jacksonville.

“They were in a mandatory evacuation zone. So they did leave, thank goodness, and they’re in Tallahassee and they’re safe,” said Jenkins.

Safety is all Jenkins is thinking about. She’s been talking over Facetime with her daughter Alayna Gates who goes to University of Florida. Gates decided not to evacuate but says it’s a bit frightening to be without her parents.

“Last night when it was getting dark the sky was yellow and that was pretty freaky. You could just tell the storm was coming,” she said.

Uneasiness for the family is growing as weather models change.

“You really don’t know and you’ve just got to prepare for it,” said Gates.

While this mom waits, she’s trusting her children are taking the right precautions and relying on faith.

“Last thing you want, I don’t care how old your kids are, is to be scared,” said Jenkins.

Jenkins adds family who lives on the coast, and had to evacuate, have boarded and weatherized their homes. Some loved ones have even come up to Tennessee to wait out the storm.

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