As Hurricane Florence nears, expat Islander braces for storm in North Carolina

An expat Island woman and her family are hunkering down as the powerful Hurricane Florence lurches toward the Carolina coast.

'Traffic is crazy, the grocery stores are empty, the gas stations have run out of gas'

Chantal Cooke Weaver, left, is originally from Charlottetown. (Submitted by Chantal Cooke Weaver)

An expat Island woman and her family are hunkering down as the powerful Hurricane Florence lurches toward the Carolina coast.

Chantal Cooke Weaver is originally from Charlottetown and has lived in Raleigh, N.C., since 1999. Coincidentally that was the same year the Carolinas were devastated by another powerful hurricane: Hurricane Floyd.

And preparations for this hurricane remind her of Floyd nearly 20 years ago, which was the first time she "saw it rain sideways."

"It's a little crazy right now. Traffic is crazy, the grocery stores are empty, the gas stations have run out of gas. Everybody is trying to get out of the coast," she said.

"The good thing for us here in Raleigh is that it looks like it's going to spin south, so that we're not going to get directly hit, but it's going to sit on the coast for a very long time."

Residents near coastal areas like this have been given evacuation warnings, although Raleigh is a bit inland so Chantal Cooke Weaver and her family are going to remain at home to wait out the storm. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

'I still haven't found bread'

States of emergency have been declared in North and South Carolina as well as Virginia as the hurricane approaches.

Florence weakened slightly to a Category 3 storm on a five-step scale but had maximum sustained winds of 201 km/h as of Wednesday afternoon, down from 210 km/h earlier in the day. Its trajectory showed its centre most likely to strike the southern coast of North Carolina by late Thursday or early Friday, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said.

Residents near coastal areas have been given evacuation warnings, although Raleigh is a bit inland so Weaver and her family are going to remain at home to wait out the storm.

"We are not in a flood plain and because it's not coming directly at us so I think we're going to be OK," she said.

But that doesn't mean she isn't gathering supplies. And even that, in an inland area like Raleigh, has been no easy trip.

"I went out to try and get all the extra things, they tell you to prepare for seven days with no power, so you got to think about having canned food, water, bread and that could not be found," she said.

"It took me two hours to get about two miles, I did finally score three cases of water. I still haven't found bread."

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About the Author

Cody MacKay

Web Writer

Cody hails from Summerside, Prince Edward Island, and is a UPEI History and Carleton Masters of Journalism alum. He joined CBC P.E.I. in July, 2017. Reach him at cody.mackay@cbc.ca