As Hurricane Florence bears down on the North and South Carolina coasts, some residents are ignoring officials' calls to evacuate.

The deadly storm has been downgraded to a Category 2 hurricane, but it is still expected to result in catastrophic flash floods, life-threatening storm surges, tropical storm-force winds and even tornadoes.

Richard "Squirrel" Cook, who lives right off the ocean in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, is not obeying Gov. Henry McMaster's mandatory evacuation order.

Cook told Fox News' Todd Piro that he respects all the measures being taken by local, state and federal officials, but it's his life and his choice to ride out the storm.

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"It's my decision. This is my home. And this is where I want to stay," Cook said.

Piro asked Cook what he plans to do during the storm.

He said he's going to spend Thursday with friends at a local beachfront restaurant and bar, and once the storm arrives, he'll watch it from his back porch.

"What's there to be scared of? If it's my time to go, I'll go."

As much as 40 inches of rain could fall in some areas, officials have warned. Fox News' Griff Jenkins reported Thursday morning from Atlantic Beach, North Carolina, where a lifelong resident explained his decision not to evacuate. 

Tim Bowen said nearby cities like Kinston and Goldsboro are more inland, but have a history of severe flooding and the situation might be even worse for evacuees.

"They have a history of being underwater. ... It just seemed like this was a better situation than going inland," he said. 

Jenkins explained that some residents are concerned if they head inland, they will be unable to return for days or weeks. 

See full coverage of Hurricane Florence, here

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