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Residents, businesses take precautions ahead of hurricane

Posted on: 09.12.2018 at 04:06 p.m.

By Grant Merritt

Looming overhead, instilling fear and casting doubt, Hurricane Florence’s strike on Columbus County has stirred emotions and spurred action as strong winds and heavy rains wage their assault for the next few days. Columbus County residents took seriously officials’ calls to prepare for the massive storm. 

Fourth grade teacher Amanda Tedder said she is prepared with her generator, gas jugs, water, non-perishable food items and candles. She is caught up on laundry and ready to ride out the storm.

Earl Stewart of Ed’s Grill board up the downtown storefront Wednesday afternoon. Staff photo by Justin Smith

“I think people are better prepared for this storm, but I also see that more people have evacuated,” Tedder said. “People are very scared.”

Car salesman Jay White said he is nervous about the storm because it is his first time experiencing a hurricane like this. He bought water and canned goods for his family.

“I’m also going to have some family from the beach come stay with me, and I want to offer help to anyone who needs help boarding up a window, moving things, securing stuff, needing food and water or a place to ride out the hurricane,” White said.

Whiteville High School volleyball assistant coach Charlie Jarman explained that he stored outdoor chairs and ladders at his house, and he also stored water in his bathtub and washing machine.

“Since we’re on well water, the loss of electricity means no water,” Jarman said. “We also filled our cars with gas.”

Jarman said he is prepared for heavy winds, torrential rain and slight flooding. He plans to monitor emergency communications via ham radio, and he is prepared to be a communications liaison by ham radio as well.

N.C. Yam Festival Director Rachel Todd has prepared for the hurricane by keeping a bag of food and water for her children and husband in her truck in case they need to travel. She has stored all of her children’s outside toys under her deck and flipped over the trampoline. Todd downloaded the Ready NC app for the latest emergency news updates. 

“I am extremely worried about this storm and its effect on the sweet potato crop,” Todd said.

Construction inspector Joey Butler bought a new generator for his family and stocked his house with food and water. 

“I’m praying to the good Lord that everyone is safe,” Butler said. 

Sand and sandbags were available Wednesday across from Whiteville Public Works on Mill Street. Staff photo by Justin Smith

Edgewood Elementary School Assistant Principal Katherine Hyatt said she is keeping her car full of gas and making sure her family has plenty of flashlights and candles available. 

“I rely on my camp stove to cook when the power is out,” Hyatt said. “Plus, after the last hurricane, I purchased a solar cell phone charger.”

Hyatt explained that her husband, Police Chief Scott Hyatt, conducted well checks in Lake Waccamaw, and her family is praying for everyone’s safety. 

Old Dock Elementary School Principal Ronna Gore said that her school is utilizing the storm as a teaching tool for her students. 

“We are educating students on what to do before, during and after the hurricane,” Gore said. “We are advising them to be prepared and not scared.”

Her school believes proper planning and education can help ensure the safety of all students even if they are not at school. The students have consistently tracked the storm. 

“We have also worked hard to secure objects such as benches, tables and flower pots that could possibly become a projectile during strong gusts of wind,” Gore said. “We pray for the safety of our students, staff and community at large while enduring the possibility of a hit from this massive storm.”

Businesses in downtown Whiteville are doing their share of hurricane preparation. Whiteville Mayor Terry Mann said that his clothing store, J.S. Mann’s, learned its lesson from Hurricane Matthew two years ago. All merchandise close to the floor was brought to higher shelves to avoid getting wet. 

Todd Collins, owner of Colliers Jewelers, placed all of his merchandise on higher shelves, and he used strips of Play-Doh and tape to seal cracks in the doors of his store to prevent water damage. 

On Tuesday afternoon, Big W Barbeque, Ed’s Grill and Floyd Insurance made barricades out of sand bags and tarps and put them at the entrances of their stores to help block flood waters. Some other businesses didn’t bother.  

“An inch of water is just as bad as a foot of water,” Nautilus Fitness Center owner Greg Hewett said. “It’s going to cover your floors anyway, so I don’t even try to keep the water from coming in.” 

Hewett said that Hurricane Florence will make the sixth time his gym has flooded with Matthew bringing 30 inches of water inside two years ago. He predicts more will come in this time.


Earl Stewart of Ed’s Grill describes how the downtown Whiteville eatery is preparing for Hurricane Florence:

Earl Stewart of Ed’s Grill describes how the downtown eatery is preparing for Florence. Details on how other residents and businesses are gearing up—>

Posted by The News Reporter on Wednesday, September 12, 2018



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november, 2018

02nov(nov 2)9:00 am30(nov 30)6:00 pmDisaster Recovery Center hours changeState/FEMA disaster recovery centers

17nov1:30 pm2:30 pmThe Life and Legacy of Millie-Christine McKoyThe North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences in Whiteville

17nov6:00 pm11:00 pmCRHS Foundation Inspiration GalaCelebrating The Golden Nurse Award

17nov8:00 pm2:00 pmColumbus County Farmers Market will re-open Saturday, November 17Farm-to-Table Fundraiser Rescheduled for November 30

24nov10:00 amScience Cinema - Disneynature’s “Bears”The North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences in Whiteville - showtimes at 10 am, 12 pm & 2 pm

29nov11:30 am1:30 pmSCC Foundation Christmas Luncheon featuring USA Today bestselling author Nancy Naigle Book-signing is from 10:30 a.m. to 11:15 a.m.

06:5017:09 EST
Feels like: 38°F
Wind: 0mph ESE
Humidity: 99%
Pressure: 30.15"Hg
UV index: 0
min 35°F

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