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Topsail Island Residents Hope Preparations Are For Nothing

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TOPSAIL ISLAND — People on the North Carolina coast are hoping Hurricane Dennis steers clear. People at Topsail Island are preparing for the hurricane, but they hope the preparations are all for nothing.

If you live on Topsail Island, sand is one of your best defenses against a hurricane.

Resident Larry Sacchi is racing against the clock to finish a seawall in front of his home in case Dennis decides to pay a visit.

He rode out a hurricane once before and will not do it again.

"The house was just shaking, and I won't do it again. No matter how weak it is or how strong it is, we're out of here," said Sacchi.

Weather is an issue for organizers of the Grand Ole Opry Sportsman Fishing Tournament in Topsail Island.

They had hoped to have over 1,000 boats enter the tournament, but the threat of Hurricane Dennis left them with just 442.

"It's not only the forecast but some of the sensationalism that goes along with it. That hurts a lot of people. We had a lot of people with boats who are very capable of fishing in this kind of weather back out because of what's out there," said organizer Greg Demetrious.

"It's going to come. It isn't anything we can do about it," said fisherman Robert Canady.

People on Topsail Island remember the devastation Hurricane Fran left in 1996. That is why town leaders and the community are preparing for Hurricane Dennis early.

"We are lucky in that we are served by two bridges. We can evacuate very quickly as compared to some of the Outer Banks. We can complete an evacuation in a matter of hours," said Town Manager Dathan Shows.

Friday was a beautiful day at the beach, but even the sun and surf worshipers say Dennis is never far from their minds.

"It's not nice to feel Mother Nature sometimes. We'll just keep watching the news and leave if we have to," said visitor Anne Golub.

Shows said he is not even thinking about an evacuation for at least 24 to 48 hours. At that time, they will start making their decision.

He said they will not do anything until a hurricane watch is issued.