Wrightsville Ready to Weather Hurricane Season
Posted May 27, 1999 7:00 a.m. EDT
WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH — Coincidence or not, the first big beach weekend of the year coincides with the start of hurricane season.
A lot of people are heading to the coast for the first time sinceHurricane Bonniehit last year.
Bonnie sat off the North Carolina coast for several hours. The strong winds were not as devastating as the massive storm surge she caused.
Wrightsville Beach leaders learned lessons from hurricanes Bertha and Fran so they were ready for Bonnie. This year is no exception.
Vernon Wallace says building codes on Wrightsville Beach have gotten stricter over the years. The construction foreman says his company goes beyond code to make sure the homes they build can withstand a hurricane.
"Just the hearsay that we've had after the storms around here, the people have said that the houses we build are pretty much the most solid that's being built around here these days," says Wallace.
Wrightsville Beach has all of its supplies in place in case a command post is needed during a hurricane. A massive generator is on standby to power town hall.
Town officials say their preparations have nothing to do with the hurricane season forecast.
"Our readiness level is going to be the same regardless of whether they are forecasting 14 major storms or no major storms, " says Town Manager Tony Caudle.
While visitors and locals enjoy the sand and the sun, the town enjoys a confidence that it is ready for the next hurricane.
"We're going to find glitches in our operation that we didn't anticipate. That's always going to happen, but with each one we get better and better," says Caudle.
Johnny Mercer's pier, a familiar landmark at Wrightsville Beach, was torn down several weeks ago because it was severely damaged in the last three hurricanes. The owner plans to put up a concrete pier in its place.