CHICAGO (CBS) — Major universities – including University of North Carolina, North Carolina State, and Duke University – are canceling classes as Hurricane Florence churns closer to the coast.

CBS 2’s Vince Gerasole talked to some college students and recent grads who have a choice: hunker down or evacuate.

“It will be my first hurricane,” said Sai Nimmagadda, a former student at Duke. His family in Lincolnshire, however, wants the recent Duke University graduate back in Illinois.  “The first text was ‘come home,’ followed by another ‘come home,’ followed by a ‘come home’ from my sisters.”

Though North Carolina’s research triangle in Raleigh-Durham is over 100 miles from the coast, it is also in the direct path of the storm.

Thousands of people are evacuating or shoring up their homes, but Nimmagadda says he is stalking up on water, canned food, and plans to ride out the hurricane from his third floor apartment.

“I got an email an hour ago,” Nimmagadda said. “They don’t have a generator, so if we are in the dark, we will see how long it takes.”

“There is definitely a risk,” said Achudh Balarman of Naperville. “They shipped in a bunch of supplies to prepare for the story.”

“For us, it was analogous to a kid from the south who has never seen snow before,” said Jake Kraemer of Deerfield.

Balarman and Kramer are freshmen students at Duke, originally from the Chicago area. They are among the 100,000 students attending school in the area’s nine universities. Most, like Duke, are canceling classes, assuring families that generator-equipped dormitories will be safe.

“They want people indoors, away from big trees,” said Kraemer.

Balarman says he will ride out the storm on campus, but Kraemer has chosen to evacuate to Nashville, flying out while the weather is still clear.

Even as Sai Nimmagadda was being interviewed, his father was texting him to get out of there and seek shelter.

Vince Gerasole