Local News

One Year Later, Coastal Residents Remember Bonnie, Prepare for Dennis

Posted August 25, 1999

— One year ago,Hurricane Bonnieroared on shore along the North Carolina coast. Among the hardest hit areas was Carolina Beach. The area has bounced back from Bonnie, but there are still subtle reminders of her visit.

Thanks to Bonnie, main streets were flooded and the storm surge made its way into many homes. Carolina Beach Mayor Rick Rothrock says many older homes have been elevated on stilts to prevent flooding in future storms.

Rothrock is rooting against a repeat with Dennis.

"We're hoping it will turn and go away from us so we don't have to go through what we did on this date with Bonnie," he says.

Lines are already forming at the Carolina Beach Town Hall. People are picking up stickers for their cars to prove they are property owners in case of an evacuation.

Sharon Lyons, a resident for 13 years, has her sticker and says she will never forget Hurricane Bonnie.

"I did not evacuate and it just seemed to sit over for so many hours that it was the hurricane that wouldn't go away," she says.

The phones are already ringing at the New Hanover County Emergency Operations Center.

"Bonnie was sort of a success story, I think, in terms of damage," says emergency operations spokesman Mark Boyer.

Emergency managers in New Hanover County remember Bonnie well and hope to repeat that success story as they handle Dennis.

"That's really all you can do -- to try to think of things that may go wrong and see where the holes are that need to be plugged," he says.

They are keeping a close eye on the Atlantic storms via computer.

"Certainly, experience is always the best teacher," says Boyer.

Emergency managers are asking people in the county to be prepared for Dennis just in case. They say they have done this three times in three years and are ready for what comes their way.

New Hanover County officially set up its emergency operations center Thursday. Officials there will keep a close eye on the storm in case they must order evacuations.

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