Waiting for news on the development of Dorian hasn't stopped those in the area from making plans and preparing for the worst.

After stalling over the Bahamas, Hurricane Dorian is making its way along the coast and the effects are anticipated to be felt in Eastern North Carolina later this week.

After almost a year to the day since Hurricane Florence, ENC residents are once again faced with the threat of a devastating storm.

[Editor's note: To view an interactive map of Hurricane Dorian, click here.]

However, if there’s a positive from two hurricanes occurring within a short amount of time, it’s the experience that comes from dealing with the storms. Onslow's community has not only formulated their plans and contingencies for the possible effects of Dorian, but have helpful advice for others.

After evacuating for Florence, Jacksonville resident Dana Ayers is waiting on reports of Dorian’s development and path before making a definitive decision for her family.

“As of right now, we’re staying,” Dana Ayers, a mother of four, said. “We’re going to ride this one out and see what happens.”

Dorian stalling for a day and moving slowly along the Floridian coast can make planning what to do difficult, but Ayers still has a bag packed for everyone in their family in case mandatory evacuations are issued. It also hasn’t stopped Ayers from preparing after she said her family “lost everything” during Florence. Having to replace all her furniture and belongings has made the last year difficult, she said.

“I was never one to be on edge before,” Ayers said. “But once you go through losing everything you’re always kind of on edge.”

She recommends putting belongings on upper floors or as high as possible to protect from flood damage. She also said to have medications refilled before leaving because getting health insurance in different states can sometimes be tricky. Ayers added that stocking up on cleaning supplies can save valuable time and frequent headaches, as many local stores may not immediately reopen and refill supplies.

“I’d rather be safe and silly than scrambling at the last second,” she said.

If you plan on leaving, coordinating and communicating with neighbors who are staying can also be invaluable, Ayers said. They can inform you of property damage and send you updates on impacts, letting you know what to expect. When you can come back, don’t rely on just one app or website, she said.

“Use a combination of things to get home,” Ayers said.

She and her husband used the N.C. Department of Transportation website, Waze app, and mapquest, among many others, to navigate a way to come home after Florence.

For Kathy Tucci, a resident of Verona who evacuated last year, getting help from neighbors was crucial. A tree on their property had fallen near the house, and her neighbors were able to cut the branches off it. She and her husband had made travel plans for the week well before knowing about Dorian, but she recommended those who are staying get enough gas to power their generators, and get them early.

“If you can get gas, there’s a line waiting to get gasoline,” Tucci said. “And a one- or two-gallon can isn’t going to help you much, you’re going to need a few of the big ones.”

Rebecca Lucas, of New Bern, is watching official reports closely, like those from the National Hurricane Center, before making a decision whether to evacuate or not. Regardless, she has secured a place to stay with friends further inland. She recommends purchasing hardy fruits and vegetables, as she will be sustaining herself on carrots and apples.

“Produce is great,” Lucas said. “They last for a long time.”

Whether you are evacuating or staying, have a plan. Readync.org says before a hurricane to have an emergency kit, familiarize yourself with evacuation routes and emergency shelters, pay attention to weather reports and local official’s announcements, fuel your vehicles, withdraw cash, and secure your property and items that could turn into projectiles. Most importantly, if you evacuate or leave your home at any point, do not attempt to cross flooded roads.

During a hurricane, make sure to have a source of water, either from bottles or by filling up a bathtub, continue to check reports from official sources, and stay indoors, particularly in a small interior room, closet, or hallway, according to readync.org.

 

Reporter Kevin Vandenburg can be reached at 910-219-8453 or kvandenburg@jdnews.com. For digital subscription information, click here.