Hurricane Florence: ‘We are ready for calmer days’

Resident Joseph Eudi looks at flood debris and storm damage from Hurricane Florence at a home on East Front Street in New Bern, N.C., Saturday, Sept. 15, 2018. (Gray Whitley/Sun Journal via AP)

By CANDY NEAL and OLIVIA INGLE
news@dcherald.com

Since Hurricane Florence hit the East Coast Friday, Tiffanee Conrad has worried about her farm in Maxton, North Carolina, which is located in the middle of the state on the North Carolina-South Carolina border.

The Dubois native and her boyfriend — he lives in Pender County, North Carolina, about an hour north of Wilmington — evacuated Wednesday, and are staying with Conrad’s sister, Tessa Monarrez, in Dubois.

Conrad has tried contacting her neighbors to see how her farm has fared in the storm, however, they haven’t responded.

Joe Wiggins prays on the porch of his water surrounded home after Hurricane Florence hit Emerald Isle N.C.,Sunday, Sept. 16, 2018. (AP Photo/Tom Copeland)

“We want to go back as soon as we can, but we don’t know when that will be,” she said Sunday evening, adding that she has horses, dogs and cats on her farm.

She’s heard from several friends who don’t have electricity, and everything in the area is closed.

Conrad is the daughter of John and Pam Conrad, and she graduated from Northeast Dubois High School in 1996. She has lived in North Carolina since 2001, and is currently a livestock agent for the North Carolina Cooperative Extension.

This is the first time she has evacuated because of a hurricane. The last hurricane that hit her town was Hurricane Matthew, a Category 5 storm that hit the East Coast in late September and early October of 2016.

“They were expecting more flooding than the last time,” Conrad said of Hurricane Florence. “The last one washed out roads and bridges. We had no electricity for a week and no water for three weeks.”

She just finished cleaning up from Hurricane Matthew last summer.

Before evacuating Wednesday, Conrad made sure to fill up the water tanks for the animals on her farm, and opened up the pastures so they could get to high ground.

Others who planned to wait out the storm in North Carolina started preparing even earlier, Conrad said, stocking up on bottled water, milk and bread up to a week before the storm was expected.

She said she’s thankful for the time to prepare for hurricanes and the time to decide whether or not to evacuate.

Floodwaters from Hurricane Florence inundate the town of Trenton, N.C., Sunday, Sept. 16, 2018. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

“At least with hurricanes, we get a week’s notice,” she said. “It was scarier with tornadoes growing up. We didn’t always have that warning.”

Mallorey Krodel — who was born and raised in Jasper until her family moved to Charlotte, North Carolina, in 1996 when she was a first grader — is weathering the storm in Charlotte where she works at a CPA firm.

In Charlotte, Mallorey said Sunday that there’s a lot of wind and flooding, and her and her boyfriend’s home lost power briefly Friday night.

“It’s scary going to bed at night and hearing the wind and rain hit the windows,” she said.

She said her parents, Glenn and Michelle Krodel, have been worried about her. Her older brother, Andy, lives in Florida and was there for Hurricane Irma last year, so he’s also been calling to check up on her.

Mallorey’s parents live in Jasper now. They moved back after Mallorey graduated high school in 2007, and Mallorey moved back to attend the University of Southern Indiana. She moved Charlotte by herself after her college graduation.

Her and her boyfriend’s main priority was to be prepared for the power to go out. They went to the grocery store Monday night to stock up on things like batteries, bottled water, Gatorade, dry food and canned fruit.

Members of the North Carolina Task Force urban search and rescue team wade through a flooded neighborhood looking for residents who stayed behind as Florence continues to dump heavy rain in Fayetteville, N.C., Sunday, Sept. 16, 2018. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

“We’ve learned you don’t put stuff off until the last minute,” she said.

Jasper native and Marine Harry Seng-Osterman has been moving between Camp Lejeune, North Carolina — the base at which he is stationed — and his nearby apartment throughout the storm.

He reports a lot of downed power lines and floodwaters everywhere.

But “he is safe,” said his dad, Merrill Osterman of Jasper. Merrill Facetimed with Harry Sunday evening. It’s the only way to talk to him, since cellphone towers are down and inoperable.

“His apartment sustained some minor water damage,” Merrill said. “The wind blew rain in the windows. He’s wasn’t able to get to his boat that he’s stored, so he’s afraid that he’s lost that.”

But material possessions can be replaced; people can’t, Merrill said.

“He appreciates the prayers and concerns for his safety,” Merrill said. “But Harry is asking that everyone pray for the people in New Bern (North Carolina), who are surrounded by water and need to be rescued. He felt like he was pretty lucky.”

Harry is also helping out fellow Marines who have been assigned to rescue operations.

“Several Marines’ families have been evacuated,” Merrill said. “With the looting reports, he’s been checking on Marine buddies’ property, making sure things are OK. And if he sees people who are in need, he helps.”

Helen McKoy walks down a flooded street in her neighborhood as Florence continues to dump heavy rain in Fayetteville, N.C., Sunday, Sept. 16, 2018. "I've never seen it like this before," said McCoy of the rising water down the street from her home. "Whatever God got for me he's going to give it to me. He said he's going to take care of us and that's what I'm going to have to live on." (AP Photo/David Goldman)

Harry is still on duty, as the Marines are always on call for missions and duties that come up in other countries.

“They have that primary mission from a global perspective,” Merrill said. “They bad guys on the other side of the world don’t care there is a hurricane in North Carolina.”

They are all happy Harry’s fiance, Jasper native Miranda Durcholz, evacuated and came back to Indiana. But his mom, Melissa, is concerned about Harry’s well-being, as is Merrill.

“Mama worries about him a lot. But I work for the Department of Defense,” Merrill said. “I have a lot of confidence in what they do. We know why Harrison signed up for the Marines. We can’t get any more proud of what he does.”

They hope to get Miranda back to North Carolina in the next few days, depending on when things calm down in that area.

“But we all agree, including her, that right now she needs to stay put,” Merrill said. “They are just starting to get some power in the area. But water is still coming up.

“We are ready for calmer days.”

According to CBS News, at least 17 people have died in Hurricane Florence-related incidents. More than 500,000 homes and businesses in North and South Carolina remain without power.

According to an advisory from the National Hurricane Center this morning, Florence is now classified as a tropical depression. It is still producing heavy rains and causing flash flooding over portions of the western mid-Atlantic region, including parts of North Carolina, northeastern South Carolina and western Virginia.

A sailboat is shoved up against a house and a collapsed garage Saturday, Sept. 15, 2018, after heavy wind and rain from Florence, now a tropical storm, blew through New Bern, N.C. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

 




More on DuboisCountyHerald.com