Local News

As Isabel Threat Grows, N.C. Coastal Residents Get Ready

Posted September 15, 2003 6:05 a.m. EDT

— With so many unknowns about the path or destructive force of Hurricane Isabel, people on the North Carolina coast are not taking any chances.

State emergency officials are urging people to get a plan together just in case the Category 5 storm hits North Carolina, and many people are making sure they are not caught off guard.

According to Wilmington resident Louis Batuyios, it is better to prepare than to react. That is why Batuyios was stocking up Friday on batteries and other emergency supplies.

"You can always use batteries," he said.

Batuyios, like most people in Wilmington, is no stranger to Hurricanes.

"This should hold me down," he said, surveying the items in his crowded shopping cart. "Of course, Monday, I guess, there will be a run on milk and bread around here. I'll worry about that later."

In addition to batteries, generators, masking tape and plywood are hurricane-preparation items that tend to go quickly, and they were going fast Friday. Shelves once stacked full of plywood in home-improvement warehouses were empty.

"If we don't buy it today, and they say the storm is coming, everybody's going to buy them," said Ron Barnello as he stacked up a purchasae of plywood.

Said Eric Skipper, manager of a local home-improvement store: "The longer you wait to prepare, the less likely you are to be able to find materials you are looking for."

While residents of the Wrightsville Beach area were getting ready Friday, so, too, were emergency responders who work here.

"The longer the amount of time we spend preparing is the least amount of time we have trouble with after it occurs, should it occur," said Lt. Hank Narramore of the Wrightsville Beach Police Department.

It could well be that the beachgoers playing in the surf and lying on the sand Friday were enjoying the last bit of calm before the storm.

"I hope it doesn't come," Batuyios said, "cause it looks like it is going to be a nasty one."