Wilmington, NC – The Pender County Office of Emergency Management is beefing up staff as it waits to see whether more rain will push the Northeast Cape Fear River even higher over its banks.
Emergency Management Director Eddie King says he's staffing the 911 Center and putting two water rescue vessels on stand by through Thursday. That's when the National Weather Service predicts the river will rise to more than 17 feet, more than 7 feet over the flood stage.
Burgaw, NC – The river crested near Burgaw at 16-1/2 feet, exceeding forecasters' predictions. The river isn't expected to recede below flood level until Saturday.
Overflow from the Northeast Cape Fear has closed a section of Highway 53 near I-40, flooding surrounding homes and driving out most residents. On duty at the edge of the water, North Carolina Wildlife Commission Sergeant David Jordan said his big concern on this holiday is recreational boaters.
Wilmington, NC – The Port of New Orleans not only got hit with Hurricane Katrina, but the floods from broken levies that flooded out the homes of many port employees. By keeping in touch with its employees the port pulled in the staff and gathered some lessons learned for other port authorities.
Wilmington, NC – An unusually wet August in southeastern North Carolina means more of Ernesto's rain is swelling the region's rivers. Tributaries of the northeast Cape Fear are above their banks and the river is running several feet higher than normal.
Emergency services in Duplin county report evacuations in the town of Chinquapin. According to the Star News, there are swift water rescue teams evacuating low-lying residents in the Pender County town of Maple Hill.
Carolina Beach, NC – Surfers and locals pretty much had Pleasure Island to themselves Thursday as the region's beach towns waited for Ernesto's arrival. But for most of the day, the storm was a disappointment. By mid-afternoon, the beach was almost empty, a sight that surprised Carolina Beach resident Judy Burford, who was hoping to catch her first hurricane.
"I figured there'd be people out on the beach, watching the ocean like they always do, but there's nobody there."