Local News

Hurricane Mitch Hits Home For Some Local Residents

Posted October 27, 1998

— Hurricane Mitch is forcing tens of thousands of people to run for higher ground, and for their lives. The storm's 120-mile an hour winds are slamming Honduras, Belize, Guatemala and parts of Mexico.

However, some North Carolinians are caught up in the storm as well.

Hurricane Mitch is hundreds of miles from N.C., but Tom Simpson is already hearing stories of fear in his Wilson home. Simpson's ham radio is picking up conversations from Cancun, which is currently in the path of the deadly storm.

"The most recent report is that they're without power, without telephone and without water," he said.

As Mitch swirls off the coast of Honduras, Raleigh resident Kay Richardson is spending the week nearby on the Island of Cozumel.

"Pretty much everything is boarded up," she said. "A lot of the shops that sell breakable things and t-shirts and stuff like that on main street have packed up all their stock and carted it off somewhere, I assume further into town."

The big question is where will the powerful hurricane make landfall. It has lost strength during the past 24 hours, but it has already killed more than a dozen people. Richardson's hotel has already told vacationers to be ready to leave.

"They made us all come down to a little meeting yesterday afternoon and told us to sort of keep our stuff packed and ready to leave our room and come to a central location at very short notice," she said.

The storm has been nearly stationary since Tuesday. It could easily grow stronger again as it crosses the Yucatan Peninsula and moves back over water.

Richardson says she has seen some unusual things since the storm began its approach. The most interesting was a group of dolphins in her hotel swimming pool that will stay there until the weather settles down.


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