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In Storm's Aftermath, Gas, Supplies Filter In

By Cece Nunn, posted Sep 18, 2018
Cars lined up Tuesday morning to fill up at a gas station at Carolina Beach Road and Raleigh Street, where police officers were directing traffic, in Wilmington. (Photo by Cece Nunn)

More businesses and stores began to open Tuesday in Wilmington as residents dealing with the fallout from Hurricane Florence searched for gas and supplies and food distribution centers opened throughout the region.

Flooding remained a concern in New Hanover and Brunswick counties and particularly in Pender County. Additionally, more than 60,000 households were still without power in New Hanover County.

As of Tuesday morning in Wilmington, some supplies appeared to be getting through to the city, including gas, though lines were still long at gas stations in some cases.

Wilmington Mayor Bill Saffo said there has been some limited access into the city that has allowed gasoline shipments.

“But they’ve been using high-water trucks to be able to do that,” Saffo said at a media briefing Tuesday morning.

Local officials continued to strongly caution motorists about dangerous road conditions throughout the area.

For example, “Sink holes are developing under flooded roads, making hazards invisible to drivers,” said Woody White, chairman of the New Hanover County Board of Commissioners.

The road situation has made restoring power to all Duke Energy customers difficult.

The hardest hit areas facing that problem, Saffo said, have included Forest Hills, South Oleander, the Glen Meade area, Greenville Loop Road and Masonboro Sound Road.

“It’s going to take some times for those crews to get in there, redo that infrastructure and rewire it,” Saffo said.

A number of grocery stores and other businesses throughout the city were open Tuesday.

Joe Garnett, a Wilmington resident who was still without power, traveled Tuesday morning to the Roses on Carolina Beach Road looking for gas cans and a generator.

Lines for supplies had been longer and the patience levels were getting low Sunday and Monday, Garnett said. “Even my own, so I had to really monitor it,” he said.

But the checkout line at Roses seemed to be about the same as a normal day on Tuesday morning.

By Tuesday, Garnett said, survival instincts had kicked in. “Then you realize it’s not going to change, so either you make the best of the situation and really have it resolved and have your family, friends, faith to come together -- I think that’s the thing that helps all of us get through.

“I think you reach a point where you can no longer whine about it, complain about it. You adapt and overcome,” said Garnett (pictured above with his brother-in-law, Derick Hansley).

Roses and some of the other stores and businesses that were able to open Tuesday were expected to stay open until the county’s curfew (8 p.m. to 6 a.m.)  took effect Tuesday evening.

According to its hurricane update page, seven Harris Teeter stores in the Wilmington area were operating on modified hours.

Stores websites have included more information on openings.

"Our trucks are able to access our Wilmington Publix stores and in fact we have already started receiving deliveries at those locations," said Kimberly Reynolds, spokeswoman for Publix grocery stores. "Our stores will remain open, but are following all local curfew orders. We have trucks making deliveries daily and thus we are continually restocking our shelves."

New Hanover County, in partnership with FEMA, the Civil Air Patrol and volunteers from General Electric, opened three Points of Distribution Sites (PODS) in the county Tuesday to provide tarps, Meals Ready to Eat (MREs) and water to New Hanover County residents.

BRUNSWICK COUNTY

In Brunswick County, water, food packets and tarps were being flown in Tuesday for distribution at South Brunswick Middle, Northwest Park and Spring Lake Park, with status updates available online.

“There has been a lot of devastation in Brunswick County this past week and our roadways are still an issue for a lot of areas. We understand that some residents are working to get their homes back to normal and we are asking that they hold any debris for now,” Brunswick County officials said in a news release Tuesday morning. “The county is currently working on assessing areas to see what our residents are dealing with. These assessments are crucial in determining a plan of action for disaster recovery. Residents, that are beginning the cleanup process, are asked to keep vegetative/yard debris separate from any construction/demolition debris. If residents have other materials, such as appliances, metal, tires, hazardous waste, and/or electronics, we ask that they are kept separated as well.

“The County is working with Waste Industries to restore trash and recycling services to residents. Again, our roadways are a concern in determining when this will happen.”

PENDER COUNTY

As officials in Pender County continued to deal with the problems caused by widespread flooding, a mobile hospital arrived in the county, according to a news release Tuesday.

Atrium Health of Charlotte is helping to fill the void left by the temporary closing of Pender Memorial Hospital, the news release stated.

“We have a 14-bed emergency department,” said Kristy Hayne, MED-1 manager of operations, in the release. “Two beds are for an operating room(OR). We have a full OR department.”

Hayne said MED-1 is staffed by 32 doctors, nurses, physician assistant, pastoral service and behavioral health specialist.

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