Local News

N.C. Beaches Gird for Dennis

Posted August 28, 1999

— Hurricane Dennis hasn't come pounding on the door of coastal Carolina just yet, but residents and emergency management teams spent Sunday busily pulling in the welcome mat.

As Dennis moves closer, the weather service will be issuing hourly updates. At 6 p.m., a hurricane warning was posted for the entire North Carolina coast from Little River inlet to Oregon inlet. The hurricane was 31.7 north and 78.2 west, was moving at 13 mph and had winds of 105 mph. Pressure was holding steady at 28.56.

At Wrightsville Beach, the waves were kicking up and only a handful of people were on the beach at 6 p.m.

Community leaders along the coast were taking no chances. Volunteers from Seagate Fire Department were going door-to-door, handing flyers to people and warning them of the impending storm and the evacuation.

One beneficiary of the personal notification said it was a fine idea -- sometimes people fall asleep or neglect to listen to weather forecasts.

Dan Summers, a coastal emergency official, said no one wants to take anything for granted. Summers noted that Hurricane Hugo shifted quickly from 8 miles an hour to 21 -- significantly shortening the window officials thought they would have to make preparations.

Anyone intending to stay on Wrightsville Beach, rather than move to Wilmington or farther inland, can expect to lose power and water as the storm approaches.

For the Tyler family at Wrightsville, Hurricane Dennis is already a "moving" experience. They spent Sunday packing up every item in their house -- not so much due to Dennis, but because they had planned to move in the next week or so anyway. So, to be safe, they rented a large U-haul truck and moved everything to safety.

Dwight Towert was boarding up his home. Because he and his friends know the drill, they were able to board the entire dwelling in 90 minutes.

Towert knows the importance of being prepared. He said everyone expected the last three damaging hurricanes not to come ashore at Wrightsville, but they did. "We were hit," he said.

For some people taking one last walk along the ocean, it was a bittersweet experience. The color of sky and brisk winds reminded everyone that Dennis is creeping ever closer. andTodd HauerandEd Wilson

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