WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH — In Wrightsville Beach, boats and other watercraft were being lifted out of the water and taken away Wednesday morning in preparation for Hurricane Matthew’s expected arrival this weekend.
But the storm’s unpredictable path is making it hard for some to fully prepare. On Tuesday, Matthew hit the countries of Haiti and Cuba as a Category 4 hurricane that was tracking northward toward North Carolina. On Wednesday morning, predictions had changed, with some showing a more easterly track with Matthew moving offshore before getting to the Wilmington area.
“We’ve ordered all the wood and stuff we need to board everything up. We’ve moved inventory off the floor and put it up higher in case of flooding, and I bought industrial bins to store things in,” said Jeff DeGroote, owner of South End Surf Shop. “But we’re going to wait another 24 hours before we actually do anything.”
After looking at another potential storm track that showed Matthew looping back down into Florida, DeGroote added, “I mean, how can you prepare when it looks like that?”
In their 7:30 briefing on Wednesday morning, the National Weather Service office in Wilmington said there was potential for an “a typical track.”
“This is likely a result of a trough lifting away sooner than expected thus influencing the track of the hurricane,” the briefing stated. “As a result, potential impacts are expected at the end of the week; however, they have been adjusted to account for the eastward shift. A lot of uncertainty exists with the track and the subsequent level of impacts so please do not let your guard down as the track could change.”
Under the latest forecasts, the storm’s closest expected approach to southeastern North Carolina is on Saturday and Saturday night, according to the NWS Wilmington, with potential impacts (mostly in the form of rainfall) beginning late Friday.
Hurricane Matthew is currently heading toward the Bahamas as a Category 3 storm.
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