Emergency Crews Prepare For Bonnie
Posted August 23, 1998 7:00 a.m. EDT
WILSON — Like many hurricanes, "Bonnie" is wrecking vacation plans along the coast long before her arrival. Depending on where Bonnie goes and when, vacationers along our coast could begin moving inland in droves. Emergency crews and local businesses are getting ready.
Traffic is normal on highways that double as hurricane evacuation routes. But if Bonnie gets much closer, they could quickly fill up as vacationers flock inland to cities like Wilson, Selma and Rocky Mount. Emergency personnel have been planning for the incoming visitors.
They said that they would also be meeting withRed Crosspersonnel and the health department and Division of Social Services Monday afternoon. They're the agencies that run the shelters, should they be needed.
Most people prefer staying at local hotels rather than staying at local shelters. While managers far inland haven't seen much of an exodus of cars from the coast yet, they know that like the storm, they could come at any time.
"Hopefully we stay prepared. We are anticipating that possibly the storm might come here and our doors are certainly open to anybody that we can help accommodate," said Mary Veon, a hotel manager.
Like all of us, rescue crews learned a lot from Hurricane Fran. Paramedics are ready for trouble but won't risk their own safety if the storm gets too dangerous.
"We have set a policy this time to drop to 40 miles an hour, and when the sustained winds reach 40, we'll pull the ambulances off the road," said Terry Barber, Wilson emergency medical director.
Bonnie is still unpredictable right now, but emergency workers say they'll be ready when she decides to make her move.
Most communities rely on armories or local schools for storm shelters. You can call your localEmergency Managementdepartment to find out more.