As Hurricane Earl continues to power toward the North Carolina coast, OOIDA Member Lesley Duke who lives on a little island there boarded up his house, packed what he could, and headed out.
On Thursday, Sept. 2, Duke told Land Line that he left a day earlier after hearing the grim news that his home most likely wasn’t going to escape the hurricane’s path. He said he decided to play it safe because his house sits just 11 feet above sea level on Holiday Island near Hertford, NC.
While he and some others made the decision to leave, he said he left behind many friends who planned to “ride the storm out.” Late Thursday, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration downgraded the hurricane to a Category 3, which still means dangerous winds of up to 125 miles per hour.
“I don’t believe in waiting for the Grim Reaper to come get you,” Duke said. “I am praying for my friends who stayed behind.”
Duke said his plan is to hunker down in Louisville, KY, and see “where things stand” with the hurricane in the next few days.
OOIDA Life Member Dennis Dearborne admits he’s watching hurricane reports like a hawk from his home in Wilmington, NC, but he’s staying put for now. His house sits just a few miles from the Cape Fear River, which he said is a “hurricane magnet.” His sense is that it’s going to brush by him.
Dearborne said that he’s weathered many hurricanes where he lives, and so far he’s been lucky.
“As close as I’ve been to many of these, I have never even lost a shingle on my house,” he said. “The sky is dark here, but I don’t think we are going to get the weather like some others are going to get.”
Besides Earl, there are currently two tropical storms, Fiona and Gaston, developing in the Atlantic Ocean. He said Tropical Storm Gaston is the one he has his eye on right now.
While Duke has been forced to flee his home because of dangerous storm swells that could raise the water levels “by as much as 3 to 5 feet above ground level,” OOIDA Member Kelly Allen told Land Line she was “chasing the storm” in her rig on Thursday.
“It looks like I’m going to be chasing this thing up the coast and even into Canada, it looks like,” Allen said.
A lifelong native of Virginia Beach, VA, Allen said that even though she’s used to this type of weather, she always pays attention to weather reports.
“I am supposed to deliver this load in Nova Scotia on Tuesday, and it looks like this may hit there, too,” she said. “I have already alerted the agent at my company, and the broker is aware of this situation as well.”
“If it gets bad, I will sit somewhere and wait it out because I have to protect my truck and this load.”
– By Clarissa Kell-Holland, staff writer
Kerry Evans-Spillman contributed to this report