Some NC Coastal Residents Taking Florence In Stride

Sep 13, 2018

File photo of a loggerhead sea turtle
Credit Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Center, Topsail Island

The Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Center in Surf City, North Carolina, has 23 recuperating turtles right now.

Surf City is about 30 miles northeast of Wilmington and sits right around the bull's eye of Hurricane Florence's expected path.

The turtles housed at the rehab center vary in size.

 

"From a dinner plate to a dinner table," said Jean Beasley, the center's director and founder.

One of the turtles weighs around 360 pounds, Beasley said.

And there are different varieties: Green, Loggerhead, and Kemp's Ridley, but no Leatherbacks, Beasley added.

"Thank goodness for that. I mean I love the leatherbacks, but they are enormous, even the young ones," she said in a telephone interview the day before Florence was to make landfall.

Beasley said she's confident the rehabilitation center will weather the storm well, especially because of its steel structure.

"There wasn't a lot of preparation to do as far as the building itself goes," she said.  "You know, we are anticipating that we will be having water turned off and sewer turned off and things like that."

Beasley said it helps that the center is on the mainland, not the beach.

But Beasley's home is on Topsail Island's oceanfront.

"You know, I am certainly not going to be there during the storm," Beasley said, adding that she will be staying with friends inland.

Longtime Surf City resident Vinita Gass, however, said she will not be evacuating, even though her home is in Pender County's mandatory evacuation zone.

Gass said she just needed to make sure there's enough food and drinks to last her family for a week or two.

She said that's about how long her family needed supplies to last after Hurricane Fran hit the area in 1996.

Gass reserved a lot of her concern for the storm's impact on business. Gass manages the Surf City Ocean Pier, which sells ice cream and novelties and rents fishing gear.

"Depending on the damage, you know, we could be out our best time of the year, our best fishing season," she said.

In his mandatory evacuation order, Pender County's emergency management director said the area would experience historic amounts of rainfall from Florence.

The National Weather Service said the southeastern part of the state could see life-threatening storm surge.