Locals already preparing for possibility of hurricanes in ENC


NEW BERN, Craven County - Local officials are alerting residents to keep a close eye on Hurricane Irma and Jose as both storms have the potential to impact Eastern North Carolina.

News of the damage Hurricane Irma is dishing out on the Caribbean islands as well as concerns about Hurricane Jose and the path of both storms has many here in Eastern NC on the edge.

"Water can hurt us a lot but the wind being in an old part of town can hurt us even more," said Tom Ballance, owner of Captain Ratty's, who is used to riding out such storms. "It can tear your roof off and may be put you out of business for even a year.

"I've stayed for a (Category) 2 and one time a (Category) 3 and after that I swore I would never stay for another one and if it gets that bad the best thing to do is go inland."

Corey Thomas just got his first home and he's not taking any chances. He and many others are stocking up and buying generators. More than 50 sold here at Lowe's in New Bern since Monday.

"80 mph and they don't really know what it's going to do? So yeah, I am really concerned," Thomas said.

Some of the items shoppers were loading up their carts with included flashlights and batteries.

"We've been through a lot of storms and we lost power one time and had someone help us out with a generator," said Agnes Waymen. "But this time around, we are going to go ahead and bite the bullet and get one of our own."

Water, gas cans and other items are also in demand by customers.

"Water is the big seller right now so everybody comes through the front door and we have the water planted right there," said Clay Braddy, who works at Lowe's. "We've had 17 pallets of water shipped in so we make sure we don't run out."

While it's unknown what path Irma will take, once it hits the United States or how strong it would be. Everyone agrees, it will bring some damage.

"We survive as a building and as a business because we support 40 families," Ballance said.