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The City of Marco Island issued a mandatory evacuation order Friday morning, and urged residents to leave the island and seek refuge at one of the county’s shelters.

With most of the city laying just nine to 11 feet above sea level, the island is extremely susceptible to storm surges, which are predicted to measure 15 feet in some portions of the county.

Still, despite the severity of the storm and stern warnings from officials, some islanders have chosen to remain in their homes and ride it out.

“I’m on the third floor so I knew I would be okay here,” said Wayne Ploghoft, who’s turning 61 on Friday. He resides at Angler's Cove condos off Bald Eagle Drive where he said approximately eight more people are also staying to weather the storm.

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Hurricane Irma is Ploghoft’s first hurricane. Originally from New Jersey, he moved to the island about three years ago.

Although he’s disabled and uses a scooter to get around, Ploghoft said that did not play a role in his decision to remain on the island.

“I decided that all we will get is just a lot of wind and rain,” he said, “and being up high in a building was not going to be so bad.”

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