Preparations continue in Havelock as Hurricane Florence heads toward the North Carolina coast. [Keith Byers / Sun Journal]

HAVELOCK - The building traffic and fight over gas have become a daily chore for people trying to get out of the path of Hurricane Florence – a potentially very bad storm.

The hurricane, which is still moving less than 10 mph, but still remains at Category 4 storm has left a lot of Havelock residents fearful and many on their way out of town for safety. Reports now show the storm possibly heading toward the Myrtle Beach, S.C. area.

People need to be aware of their fellow drivers during this time. Gas is scarce until deliveries are made, traffic will continue to be a problem. Courtesy should be extended to any driver during this difficult time. Westbound traffic has been heavy in Havelock over the last few days.

With a projected path still forecasted for landfall near the southern part of the state, the National Weather Service has issued a bulletin: For the counties near Craven County the following mandatory evacuations have been issued for counties and cities:

Pamlico, Dare, Tyrell counties, Brunswick, Atlantic Beach, Indian Beach, Pine Knoll Shores, Emerald Isle, Carteret and Craven, have all been issued mandatory evacuation.

Casey Dail, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Newport, N.C. said that in her 12 years of experience this gives her pause.

“It’s potentially going to be a bad [storm],” Dail said.

With a projected path still forecasted for landfall near the southern part of the state, the National Weather Service has issued a bulletin that states: Major Hurricane Florence continues to bear down on the Carolinas and Mid-Atlantic. High Surf is already impacting portions of the east coast. Heavy rain and strong winds from Olivia could produce Landslides and flash flooding in areas of Hawaii that are usually drier, according to a press release on the National Weather Service web site.

A Gulf system is expected to produce heavy rain in Texas. Issac is being monitored for potential threats to U.S. Territories.

The question seems to be that of do I stay, or do I go. If you are in a low lying area where water is liable to collect the answer is an equivocal yes.

“This storm is a monster. It’s big and it’s vicious,” said North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper. “The waves and the wind this storm may bring is nothing like you’ve ever seen. Even if you’ve ridden out other storms before, this one is different. Don’t bet your life on riding out a monster,” Cooper said.

One person from Havelock who has decided to stay is Chris Hoomana, a painter who works for Civil Service at Cherry Point, who has lived in Guam and is no stranger to the Typhoons (a type of hurricane) that exist there. He said that in Guam the houses are concrete.

“I want to see what wood will do with the shingles,” Hoomana said.

As reported in the Tuesday edition of The Sun Journal shelters will be available at Havelock High School, Brinson Elementary in New Bern and Ben D Quinn Elementary, also in New Bern that does allow pets. Farm Life Elementary in Vanceboro is also open but does not allow pets.

A press release from Jaime Long, public relations officer with The Carteret County Emergency Services reads, “Carteret County, NC – There are still many unknowns as it relates to the direct impact on our area from Florence as hazards in the form of tropical storm force winds could be felt as early as Wednesday evening. With the current forecast model, storm surge is expected to begin Thursday and has the possibility to be 9-13 feet.

It is encouraged those who have not heeded the mandatory evacuation in Carteret County to do so as soon as possible. Please evacuate now. Citizens needing transportation to the shelter in Knightdale, N.C., should call no later than 9:30 a.m. today Sept. 12, 2018 to schedule their ride. The number to call is 252-222-5841.”