Stay or go? NC coast under hurricane warning

Posted August 25, 2011
Updated August 26, 2011

— With the North Carolina coast under a hurricane warning, several coastal communities have ordered both residents and visitors to evacuate.

The National Weather Service issued a hurricane warning Thursday for the North Carolina coast, indicating that Hurricane Irene is expected to impact the state in the next 48 hours. The warning extends from north of Surf City to the Virginia border. 

Evacuations have been ordered for all residents and visitors in Hyde and Dare counties, as well as for visitors in Currituck and Carteret counties. Residents of Bogue Banks in Carteret County must leave by 8 p.m. Friday. The two bridges to Bogue Banks will close then, officials said.

The last time all residents were ordered to leave Dare County was in advance of Hurricane Isabel eight years ago, officials said.

Stacy Auka says the 15 members of her family – three generations – have been vacationing in Nags Head for years. They arrived last Saturday and will see their vacation cut short. 

Surfers delay evacuation decision Surfers delay evacuation decision

"It's really hard on the kids, but you gotta do what you gotta do," she said.

Another family member, Patrick Lacy, said the adults debated whether to leave and decided to pack up Thursday morning.

In Morehead City, Becky Fitzula was planning to let a storm drive her out for the first time in her life. Hurricane evacuation routes Hurricane evacuation routes

"This one there seems to be a heightened sense of urgency on everyone's part which is a little different than most of them," she said. 

"We'd like to stay, but with two little ones under the age of 3, if we don't have power it could get hairy."

Robert Eubank dug in at home in Beaufort, ready for a hurricane party. "Once the power goes out, the party starts," he said.

Farther south, New Hanover County officials said they would declare a state of emergency at 6 a.m. Friday. No evacuations were ordered, but officials planned to open shelters for people living in flood-prone areas and to dismiss schools two hours early.

At The Blockade Runner in Wrightsville Beach, Manager Jason St. Clair said his staff had been fielding calls from guests, but they weren't quite sure how to answer.

"There have been a few calls of people concerned about the weather. However, at this point I don't think we really know what it's actually going to do," he said.

Annette Walter, visiting Wrightsville Beach for a conference, said she had decided to fly out a day early to keep ahead of the storm. "This is my second visit to North Carolina, and we started hearing about the storm, and I was just concerned with flying home safely so I wasn't stuck in the airport," she said. "I just want to get home and be safe, see my family, see my baby."

St. Clair said his staff is ready for anything.

"We're just here to accommodate the guests. If they come that's great, and it they have to cancel due to safety concerns, we certainly understand."

The National Weather Service forecast moderate flooding and winds as 70 mph in Wrightsville Beach as the storm passes. 

Likewise, Brunswick County officials called for voluntary evacuations of low-lying areas and said they would open shelters for affected residents and visitors. Schools there also plan to dismiss early Friday.

Newton-Grove flooding Shelters and other information for your county

Shelters have opened in Nash and Wilson counties for visitors and residents from Hyde County. Other shelters were on standby in Halifax, Northampton and Onslow counties for other evacuees from the Outer Banks.

Ocracoke residents and visitors were asked to go to Englewood Baptist Church, 1350 S. Winstead Ave. in Rocky Mount. Mainland Hyde County residents were asked to go to Raleigh Road Baptist Church, 4150 Raleigh Road Parkway in Wilson. Pets will not be allowed in either location, but accommodations will be available and information provided upon arrival.

The state of Virginia suspended tolls on the northbound Chesapeake Expressway to facilitate travelers headed away from the Outer Banks as the storm approached.  


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  • carolinarox Aug 25, 2011

    Thus far, only 3,300 buyout applications were in the State's hands according to Eric Tolbert, NC Emergency Director. Compare this info with paragraphs 8 and 25 below. This information was released six months after the hurricane. 1997's hurricane Fran led to buyouts of more than 8,000 homes in NC carolinarox GOLO member since July 14, 2008 August 25, 2011 2:53 p.m. This was state, not Fed..... NC paid the bill for Fran without Fed. money... Rebelyell55

    Good grief FEMA stands for Federal Emergency Management Agency, FEMA bought the houses. The National Flood Insurance Program paid off the flood claims. The Corp of Engineers are paid with federal funds, not state. Hog and poultry farmers received funds from the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture. Shall I continue? NC receives federal funds after every single disaster that hits this state.

  • Rebelyell55 Aug 25, 2011

    and future tax hikes.
    Bring on the 4 Dollar Gas
    No doubt about it, there going to be future tax hikes.

  • kylemay Aug 25, 2011

    I've created a site to track information, stories and related information to hurricane Irene. Please feel free to check it out and also keep it as up to date as possible.

  • Bring on the 4 Dollar Gas Aug 25, 2011

    yeah, just something else to be a reason for more government handouts.

    and future tax hikes.

  • Rebelyell55 Aug 25, 2011

    AP article said that one of the nation leading expert stated this would be one of the worse for the east coast in a long time. The states above NC will see property damages in the billion and will have a hughes impact on our economy. If the goverment don't get us I guess mother nature will.

  • driverkid3 Aug 25, 2011

    I have seen some posts on here critical of those that go out in the wind and rain. Listen up: This summer, I went through a lot of pain and nausea from the heat. Could not go outside, had a hard time making it to the grocery store, etc. Yes, I hope we get rain and wind from this, and YES, I will go outside and dance in it to the best of my ability because the cool will feel good to me, and I can feel semi-healthy again and I will thank GOD for it. I don't want to see anyones property destroyed or anyone hurt because I do this. So, don't tell me or anyone else that we can't feel good about some wind and rain. Walk for a summer in my socks and then you can criticize me.

  • Rebelyell55 Aug 25, 2011

    Someone posted yesterday about the storm pilot going in, that they would know more. I guess they knew what they were talking about huh?

  • Bring on the 4 Dollar Gas Aug 25, 2011

    "Anyone foolish enough to remain on the OBX doesn't deserve sympathy."

    No they don't, send them a check. They're tired of being cried wolf to!

  • Made In USA Aug 25, 2011

    Not the storm to play macho with. Leave or get blown away.

  • harmstrong4 Aug 25, 2011

    looking at the track, it shows the storm turning north near charleston, is NNW. Then it turns NNE...if the turn is not made, Raleigh is gonna get some rain among other things...wait for the turn...then we will know.