SOUTHEASTERN N.C. — Hurricane Florence has come and gone, but despite the blue skies and pleasant weather, serious flooding poses a threat to residents across the Cape Fear area.
The need for shelter has shifted from the storm’s immediate impact to handling a new influx of residents fleeing areas threatened by cresting rivers – including the Waccamaw River in southwestern Brunswick County and the Cape Fear River in downtown Wilmington. Some shelters have closed, but others remain open to handle this new challenge.
Initially, the county opened three shelters at North, South, and West Brunswick high school locations. After the storm passed, the North Brunswick High School location closed, on Friday, the West Brunswick High School location experienced a norovirus outbreak.
According to Brunswick County Spokesperson Amanda Hutcheson, the county is currently directing those looking for shelter – including those evacuating from the Waccamaw River area – to the South Brunswick High School shelter. Hutcheson said there were 33 people at the shelter as of Friday afternoon, leaving “plenty of room.”
The South Brunswick High School shelter is located at 100 Cougar Road in Boiling Springs Lakes.
After a state-run shelter opened in Raleigh, the county eventually opened nine shelters – plus an additional location in Forsyth County. At the height of the storm, at least six reached maximum capacity. Currently, the open shelter still open is Hoggard High School.
New Hanover County spokesperson Ruth Ravitz-Smith said there were currently about 300 people taking shelter at the Hoggard shelter. According to the county, there have been no reported issues of supply shortages.
Ravitz-Smith said that, as of Friday evening, the American Red Cross has assumed operation of the Hoggard shelter, which would remain open “until the services are no longer needed.
The Hoggard High School shelter is located at 4305 Shipyard Boulevard.
Pender County has consolidated four shelters down to two; the county is currently sheltering 254 people – 206 at Pender High School and 48 at Topsail Elementary School.
According to Pender County spokesperson Tammy Proctor, “both are taking people who need to flee rising rivers.”
Proctor added that shelters will remain open “through the disaster,” adding that “when we will proceed with more permanent housing.”
The Pender High School shelter is located at 5380 NC-53 in Burgaw; the Topsail Elementary School shelter is located at 17385 Highway 17 in the Hampstead area.
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