One dealer was rescued from his New Bern, N.C., home in a swift boat and others reported downed trees and impassable roadways Friday morning as Hurricane Florence made landfall.
“Most importantly, everyone’s OK,” Robert Glaser, president of the North Carolina Automobile Dealers Association, said of the 30 or so dealers he set up a channel with in the storm’s worst-affected areas, spanning roughly the North Carolina cities of Wilmington to Jacksonville to New Bern. “A lot of the dealers are planning to go check the dealerships later today.”
The storm was inland near Cape Fear at 11 a.m. Friday with maximum sustained winds of 80 mph and some stronger gusts, the National Hurricane Center said. It was moving west-southwest at just 3 mph, and the slow movement increased concerns of flooding. Rain of up to 40 inches was expected in some areas.
In New Bern, rescuers by mid-morning Friday had plucked more than 200 people from rising waters, but about 150 more had to wait as conditions worsened and a storm surge reached 10 feet, officials said to CNN.
The storm’s sluggish trajectory across southeastern North Carolina and eastern South Carolina was projected to continue through Saturday. But gradual weakening is expected today, before the storm significantly weakens over the weekend, the NHC said.
Further south, in Charleston, S.C., Fred Anderson Toyota was open for business, with employees coming in on a voluntary basis.
“We’re just going to try to get the week started, basically,” said Dennis Quinn, the store’s sales manager. “We’re so behind, we probably could’ve opened the last couple days, but with that threat we’re just kind of playing it by ear.”