WILSON, N.C. — With the threat of Charley slamming into eastern North Carolina, counties left nothing to chance.
The Red Cross opened one of its first shelters at Fike High School in Wilson Saturday morning.
Sandy Newton and her mother were among the first to check in.
"When it rains really hard, it can get real bad. We did not want to get flooded in in case we couldn't get out," she said.
About 35 people took advantage of the shelter before it closed late Saturday afternoon.
Power crews stood by in Wilson while emergency officials monitored the storm and flood-prone areas, like Hominy Creek, closely.
Remnants of Charley hit the city late Saturday afternoon. Heavy rain caused minor flooding on some roads. Hominy Creek rose several feet, but did not spill over.
Officials say they will keep a close eye on creek and river levels for the next couple of days.
Most people in eastern North Carolina have vivid memories of Hurricane Floyd, which struck the area in 1999, pushing the Neuse River out of its banks.
In Kinston, that water flowed over low-lying residential areas and the city's sewage treatment plant.
Much of that flooded area remains empty. Since Floyd, block after block of houses in a low-income area have been removed under a federal program to cut flood damage costs by moving residents out of low, flood-prone areas
So when Tropical Storm Charley struck Saturday, fewer than 30 people stayed at a Red Cross shelter at Lenoir Community College.
Most people stuck with their routines, some doing their Saturday shopping and others pulling boat trailers westward from the coast.
Among those who went to the shelter was Johnny Grady, who rode out Floyd from inside his rocking mobile home.
Grady says he, his wife, his mother and stepfather came to the shelter because they didn't want to ride out another storm in a trailer park.
Wilson Crews Prepare For Threat Of Flooding