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Hurricane could reverse course

BY GEORGE PIPER | Carolina Coast | August 31, 1999

Damage reports show light damage, but official assessments won't occur until emergency management

officials think the danger of being re-hit is past. Currently the storm's wind speed - hovering at 75 mph - is

barely enough to keep its hurricane status.

Most hurricane warnings have been downgraded to tropical storm warnings, but emergency management

departments are warning coastal residents to stay on their guard. Many are canceling vacation Labor Day

weekend vacation plans in the area. Hurricane warnings extended from Little River Inlet, S.C., to the

North Carolina/Virginia border. Tropical storm warnings were issued from the North Carolina/Virginia

border to Chincoteague, Va.

Two people died in a storm-related auto accidents on Monday in Pender County, which received five

inches of rain so far, said Lois Nilsen, assistant public information officer for North Carolina Emergency

Management. Flooding is reported in Brunswick County and some 47,000 people were without power.

Closer to the Outer Banks, up to 10 inches of rain has fallen in Dare and Hyde counties.

State emergency management officials established a staging area in Kinston, about 60 miles northwest of

Morehead City. National Guard, state troopers and civil air patrol personnel are ready to go where

needed. The American Red Cross is housing some 1,100 people in 42 shelters across 17 counties, added

Nilsen.

Faith-based contacts in North Carolina say the state got off relatively easy, but they remained concerned.

"The feeling is the wind is not going to be the problem. The real concern is the rain," said Charlie Moeller, a

Church World Service disaster resource facilitator. He will meet with emergency management officials

today and continues to keep his faith-based contacts on standby.

If North Carolina had to be affected by a hurricane, this is about the best scenario, said Dennis Levin of

Interfaith Disaster Response of North Carolina. Mitigation efforts over the years have improved structures

and drainage systems, he added, which helps minimize damage.

With Dennis still battering parts of North Carolina, it's difficult to get a handle on hard-hit areas, but Levin

is optimistic the overall outcome will be good for the state. "I don't know how bad it is," he said of

hurricane damage, "but it could be a lot worse."

Twenty-four relief teams from the Salvation Army's North and South Carolina division are on standby,

ready to distribute relief supplies to the anxious region, noted public information officer John Edwards.

Late last week, the organization established supply warehouses in Elizabeth City and Wilmington, N.C.

and in Charleston and Conway, S.C.

Damage is minimal or non-existent from South Carolina to Florida, where Dennis brought rain, some

wind and little else to those coasts.

In the Bahamas, where Dennis stalled for hours as a Category 1 hurricane, lives were spared and damage

was minimal. The Rev. Ronald Heinze of Our Saviour Lutheran Church (ECLA), Freeport, said there were

storm- damaged roofs and uprooted trees in the Abaco island chain. Freeport experienced winds and

heavy rain, he added, but no major damage.

U.S. faith-based disaster relief organizations contacted by Disaster News Network also reported light

damage to denominations there.


Related Topics:

Atlantic storm morphs into Javier

Florida prepares for TS Colin

More hurricanes predicted in '16


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