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Dorian Could Make Landfall In North Carolina, Forecasters Say


All right. As Bobby mentioned there, Dorian is approaching the coast of the Carolinas, and forecasters say it could make landfall in North Carolina. Now, if it does, it'll be the first Category 3 storm to hit that state in more than 20 years, so there are now mandatory evacuation orders in places like Dare County, N.C. Robert Woodard is the chairman of the Dare County Board of Commissioners. He's on the line with me now. Good morning, sir.

ROBERT WOODARD: Good morning, Miss King.

KING: So where are you at this moment, and what are you seeing?

WOODARD: I am physically in Manteo on the mainland at our emergency management office. We have a facility here. And we're getting ready to have another control group meeting with our control group at 8 o'clock this morning. So I'm on the mainland, but I physically live on the barrier island in Kill Devil Hills.

KING: And the barrier islands are quite vulnerable, as I understand it.

WOODARD: Yes. Yes, ma'am, they are. We're a hundred miles of a barrier island. It's only about a quarter of a mile wide, so we are very, very concerned about this storm. Our visitors have been very diligent in getting out. We had a mandatory evacuation - over 300,000. We have - our citizens are very, very resilient, but we've had a lot of our citizens that have evacuated and our businesses are closed, and so we're hunkering down and preparing for it. But it is very, very concerning about the storm surge on the sound side, as well as getting a possible direct hit.

I am so, so concerned about our citizens in Hatteras Island because that sticks out so far. And we're going to have some major, major flooding issues in Hatteras, if not even some severe wind damage. We're very, very concerned about the storm.

KING: What are the specific conditions you've been told to prepare for in places like Hatteras? What are they saying might happen?

WOODARD: Well, right now - right now, this morning, the early report is on sound side. We've got - they've increased that from a 4- to a 6-foot surge, and then what you have to do is consider the wind, so you're going to have to add another 2 feet to that. So that would take the surge anywhere from 7 to 9 feet, so - or 8 feet, so that's very, very serious with these 20- and 25-foot seas off our coast. We could have some breaches between the ocean and the sound. We've had that before during Irene - I mean Izzy. So we're very, very concerned about that in Hatteras Island and on our northern beaches in Nags Head, Kill Devil Hills, Kitty Hawk, Duck, Southern Shores, so...

KING: You've just got a lot of worries on your mind right now. Let me ask you, is Dare County ready for this hurricane?

WOODARD: Yes, ma'am, we are. Our sheriff's department, our EMS - all of our folks - we have them strategically placed, and they're prepared to do whatever is necessary when any emergency issues arise with our citizens. So we - this is certainly not our first rodeo. We've been through this many, many, many times, but we have - we're fully prepared to do what it takes to assist our citizens if they get in harm's way.

KING: OK. And let's - let me ask you, to people who did decide to stay put, what's your message to them?

WOODARD: My message to them is just to - hopefully they hunker down and they've taken the necessary steps to protect themselves and their residence and be prepared for this.

KING: Be prepared. Bob Woodard is the chairman of the Dare County Board of Commissioners in North Carolina. Sir, thank you.

WOODARD: Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.