Hurricane Florence cuts off road access to N. Carolina city - News, Weather, Sports, Toledo, OH

Hurricane Florence cuts off road access to N. Carolina city

(AP Photo/Chuck Burton). Cars try to navigate a flooded road leading to Interstate 40 in Castle Hayne, N.C., after damage from Hurricane Florence cut off access to Wilmington, N.C., Sunday, Sept. 16, 2018. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton). Cars try to navigate a flooded road leading to Interstate 40 in Castle Hayne, N.C., after damage from Hurricane Florence cut off access to Wilmington, N.C., Sunday, Sept. 16, 2018.
(AP Photo/Chuck Burton). A car travels past a sinkhole in downtown Wilmington, N.C., after Hurricane Florence traveled through the area Sunday, Sept. 16, 2018. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton). A car travels past a sinkhole in downtown Wilmington, N.C., after Hurricane Florence traveled through the area Sunday, Sept. 16, 2018.
(AP Photo/Chuck Burton). Wilmington police stand guard as a Lowe's Foods employee stands by the door of the store in Wilmington, N.C., after Hurricane Florence traveled through the area Sunday, Sept. 16, 2018. The store was allowing only 10 people into... (AP Photo/Chuck Burton). Wilmington police stand guard as a Lowe's Foods employee stands by the door of the store in Wilmington, N.C., after Hurricane Florence traveled through the area Sunday, Sept. 16, 2018. The store was allowing only 10 people into...
(AP Photo/Chuck Burton). Dallas Perdue leaves a Lowe's Foods store in Wilmington, N.C., after Hurricane Florence traveled through the area Sunday, Sept. 16, 2018. Perdue says he waited about two hours to get into the store to buy a few groceries. The s... (AP Photo/Chuck Burton). Dallas Perdue leaves a Lowe's Foods store in Wilmington, N.C., after Hurricane Florence traveled through the area Sunday, Sept. 16, 2018. Perdue says he waited about two hours to get into the store to buy a few groceries. The s...
(AP Photo/Chuck Burton). Luke Churchill, left, stands with his wife, Mary and their children, Katie, 13, Liam, 9, and Raighan, 3, as they wait in the rain outside an open Waffle House restaurant in Wilmington, N.C., after Hurricane Florence traveled th... (AP Photo/Chuck Burton). Luke Churchill, left, stands with his wife, Mary and their children, Katie, 13, Liam, 9, and Raighan, 3, as they wait in the rain outside an open Waffle House restaurant in Wilmington, N.C., after Hurricane Florence traveled th...

By CHUCK BURTON and MARTHA WAGGONER
Associated Press

WILMINGTON, N.C. (AP) - Damage from Hurricane Florence left a North Carolina city popular with tourists cut off Sunday from road access, leaving authorities planning how to get food and water there by air and water.

Officials from New Hanover County and Wilmington said Sunday that additional rainfall Saturday night caused more problems for the area. State Transportation Secretary Jim Trogdon said one of his top priorities was determining how to restore ground access to the area.

"Our roads are flooded," Woody White, chairman of the county Board of Commissioners, said Sunday at a news conference. "There is no access to Wilmington."

The major highways into the area, Interstate 40 and U.S. 74, were not accessible, officials said.

Trogdon said the state was working with the Department of Defense and National Guard to see if they could get first responders through to Wilmington in high-water vehicles. He also said officials were working on "other contingencies to support Wilmington on the ocean side."

While the city was cut off from the outside, streets in Wilmington were busy with motorists.

Victor Merlos was overjoyed to find a store open for business since he had about 20 relatives staying at his apartment, which still has power. He spent more than $500 on cereal, eggs, soft drinks and other necessities, plus beer.

"I have everything I need for my whole family," said Merlos.

Police guarded the door of another store and only 10 people were allowed inside at a time. Dallas Perdue told The Associated Press he waited about two hours to get into the store to buy a few groceries.

Nearby, a Waffle House restaurant limited breakfast customers to one biscuit and one drink, all take-out, with the price of $2 per item. The line for gasoline at a Costco store stretched about a half-mile down a road.

The water utility, Cape Fear Public Utility Authority, had said Sunday that it had only a 48-hour supply of fuel to provide water. However, it said later in a news release that a source of fuel had been found and there was no immediate threat to service.

While Wilmington has survived its share of hurricanes, including Hurricane Fran in September 1996, the city of 120,000 has not suffered the amount of rain that fell from Florence, which has since weakened to a tropical depression.

Typically, it's a tourist city and home to EUE Screen Gems, a movie studio that helped give the city the nickname of "Hollywood of the East," although production has dropped since lawmakers scaled back film incentives. Television shows such as "Dawson's Creek" and "One Tree Hill" were filmed there, as well movies that include "The Hunger Games" and "Iron Man 3."

It's the hometown of basketball great and Charlotte Hornets owner Michael Jordan and is known for its historic homes and its annual Azalea Festival.

But as the rain continued to fall, its officials were asking North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper for additional law enforcement, including the National Guard, White said. Some 465 people were rescued from cars and homes starting Saturday night and continuing until 9:30 a.m. Sunday he said.

Patients on oxygen and dialysis were being moved from New Hanover County Medical Center to Hoggard High School, a new shelter scheduled to open to the public at 5 p.m. Sunday. It has room for 1,387 people.

___

Waggoner reported from Raleigh, North Carolina.

___

Follow Martha Waggoner on Twitter at http://twitter.com/mjwaggonernc .

___

For the latest on Hurricane Florence, visit https://www.apnews.com/tag/Hurricanes

Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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