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Currituck orders visitors to leave

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From staff, wire reports

Monday, September 10, 2018

CURRITUCK — With Hurricane Florence taking aim at both North and South Carolina, potentially as a Category 4 hurricane, Currituck officials declared a state of emergency on Monday and ordered the evacuation of tourists and guests from the county’s Outer Banks to begin today.

Also on Monday, officials in Chowan County and the town of Edenton issued a state-of-emergency declaration for both communities, as did the mayor Elizabeth City. The declaration in Chowan and Edenton took effect on Monday; Elizabeth City’s is scheduled to take effect today at 8 a.m.

At 5 p.m. Monday, the storm’s center was located about 525 miles south-southeast of Bermuda and about 1,170 miles east-southeast of Cape Fear, North Carolina. Maximum sustained winds were clocked at 140 mph as the storm moved west-northwest at 13 mph. The storm is projected to approach the coast of South Carolina or North Carolina on Thursday, the National Hurricane Center said.

As part of the state of emergency declaration Currituck officials issued Monday, all tourists and guests in Corolla and Carova are required to evacuate starting at 7 a.m. today, the county said in a press release.

In addition, all alcohol sales are suspended in Currituck during the state of emergency, the county said. Alcohol sales will not be suspended in Chowan, officials said.

Currituck officials are advising residents to monitor Florence’s track and to make the necessary safety precautions, including by stationing emergency kits, making an evacuation plan and securing their property.

Residents are also being reminded that Currituck has no pre-storm shelters, so they should prepare to evacuate if necessary. Residents needing help evacuating are advised to call Currituck Social Services at 232-3083.

Currituck Emergency Management Director Mary Beth Newns said Monday the evacuation of visitors in Corolla and Corova is mandatory, and she estimated it applies to 15,000 people.

She also said Currituck officials are considering issuing a mainland evacuation as well, based on the storm’s current path. The storm is expected to affect almost the entire state, she said.

If Currituck expands the evacuation, the county will announce it no later than Wednesday, she said.

Newns said Currituck doesn’t have the personnel to go door-to-door and force people to leave. In urging people to follow the evacuation, she said people who try to ride it out risk being cut off from emergency responders.

“Just think of their families and their safety,” Newns said she would tell those considering not following the evacuation order.

Newns also said some of the most vulnerable parts of Currituck, other than the beach, include Knotts Island and, on the mainland, Walnut Island, and Griggs Acres.

Newns said she remains in contact with state and weather officials.

Citizens who evacuate may use re-entry permits once the storm has passed. Residents and property owners without a re-entry permit may provide their driver’s license, tax bill, or utility bill in place of a permit, the county said.

The expectation that Florence will bring severe weather to the Albemarle by the end of the week has already prompted a number of governments and organizations to cancel or postpone events. The following is a list of those events

* College of The Albemarle’s Community Resource Day set for Wednesday has been postponed. A revised date will be announced later.

* The city of Elizabeth City Public Utilities Department will modify its garbage collection schedule this week. Monday will be the only day recyclables will be collected. Both Tuesday’s and Wednesday’s garbage routes will be collected Tuesday; Thursday and Friday’s routes will be collected on Wednesday. There will be no garbage collection on Thursday or Friday.

* Museum of the Albemarle is rescheduling Thursday’s “Tot Time: Hurricanes!” until Thursday, Sept. 20 at 10 a.m. The program, for preschoolers ages 3-5, is designed to explore how long hurricanes have been a part of North Carolina history.

* The Chowan Arts Council has canceled the opening of the “Edenton Though Photographs” exhibit scheduled for Thursday. No rescheduled date has been released.

* College of The Albemarle’s Performing Arts Center production of “Annie” has been rescheduled. Shows scheduled for Thursday through Sunday will now take place on Thursday, Sept. 20, at 10 a.m.; Friday, Sept. 21, at 10 a.m. and 7 p.m.; and Sunday, Sept. 23, at 10 a.m. All prepaid tickets will be honored at the rescheduled show times.

* The Center Hill Crossroads Volunteer Fire Department has postponed its chicken supper scheduled for Saturday. A new date will be rescheduled. Tickets already sold will be honored on that date.

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