On Thursday, with Hurricane Earl about 250 miles to the south, and on a trajectory to skim the coast of North Carolina, Larry Whitt of Outer Banks Insurance said the sun was shining in Kill Devil Hills. There was no wind, and no rain.
Whitt said he had not been over to look at the beach, which is only two blocks from the beach, but news reports said some people were surfing. Whitt had, however, seen a lot of cars by the beach streets, an indication that tourists had not evacuated right away, as they had been asked to do.
Some residents and businesses were boarding up windows, but not everyone. Those others are hoping that the hurricane stays well offshore, and the area gets winds of only 70 miles per hour. Winds like that would be no worse than those the area gets with the nor’easters that come in March and April.
However, as of 2 p.m. Thursday, the National Hurricane Center was saying that “The center of Earl will pass near the North Carolina Outer Banks tonight.”
“If this rascal decides it wants to come straight in, then we’re in a heck of a mess,” Whitt said.
Whitt said agents in the area had new policy restrictions go into effect on Wednesday. But he was still plenty busy with present clients calling to check up on their coverage.
A number of other agencies near the coast that the Insurance Journal called said they were too busy to talk. But they were working and they said they expected to be back in the office and available to their clients tomorrow.
Hurricane warnings presently extend from North Carolina, where as many as 30,000 tourists are expected to evacuate Hatteras Island, to Massachusetts, where some Cape Cod residents were stocking up on boards and critical supplies. According to the forecast, if Earl continues to hug the coast all the way to New England, it should be downgraded from a category four storm to a category two storm by the time it gets there.
Earl is expected to pass North Carolina’s Outer Banks at 2 a.m. Friday morning. It would reach New England on Friday night.
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