BOSTON (CBS) – It was a long 16 hours for Patrick Dunfey and Connor Zaya driving straight through to their homes in Wilmington from their South Carolina campus. “We woke up Monday morning and it was red, right where we were. We knew we had to get out of there,” said Dunfey.

Coastal Carolina University, where the two friends are juniors, cancelled classes on Tuesday and through the rest of the week. They live in a single floor off campus house and thought they would ride it out, but changed their minds.

“That’s Myrtle Beach, we’re right there,” said Zaya pointing to a map on the television screen where they watched a weather forecast. “They’re talking catastrophic damage to life and property.”

students1 College Students Drive 16 Hours To Flee Hurricane Florence

Patrick Dunfey and Connor Zaya (WBZ-TV)

Zaya says he saw a weather graphic with a house that looked very much like theirs with predictions that the water could rise to the rooftop. They joined the throngs trying to fill their tank at a depleted gas station. “I was happy to be able to get gas,” said Dunfey. “I had to hold the handle for a good five seconds before I felt anything coming out, I was getting worried.”

They also hit the supermarkets only to find empty shelves. “It was crazy there was nothing,” Dunfey said.

They put things as high up in their unit as they could before grabbing what they thought would be essentials including school work, but also golf clubs, a PlayStation and other valuables worried about flooding and even possible looting.

With Florence barreling down they don’t yet know when they’ll return to campus, and worry what they might find when they do. “If that thing hits Myrtle we’re not worried about getting back, but what we’ll get back to,” said Zaya.

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