North Carolina hotspot starts feeling Earl

September 2, 2010 8:53:16 PM PDT
Those visiting North Carolina's tourist hotspot Kill Devil Hills were still there Thursday afternoon. The waves were building, and the wind was increasing in the afternoon and the beach was still packed. And Dimitri Marameites was out kite surfing, trying to tell us he was doing serious work.

"I own the company of the kites, so I'm testing to see the maximum I can go," he said.

But even Marameites had his limits, and he left after we talked to him.

The storm isn't making landfall near there, but it was close enough to chase them away.

By nighttime, it started raining steadily and getting ugly.

It wasn't necessarily quite though, because the wind had been picking up all afternoon. However, it was very dark, and the waves easily reached up to 10 feet tall.

When a storm comes in overnight to a town already emptied of its tourists and half boarded up, it's hard to know just what's going on about it.

"You can't see what's going on; you hear a lot of bumps and thumps, and you don't know what's going on," Kill Devil Hills resident Elaine Roby said.

As of 10pm, Hurricane Earl was still more than 100 miles off from Kill Devil Hills.

After watching hurricane tracking models for more than a week, residents finally learned that they would avoid a direct landfall, and just get a brush of the storm.

"I think we got lucky," resident Ronnie Hudgins said. "It took a turn right at the tail end."

But for others, they consider it unlucky that the tourist town would get on Labor Day weekend ? the end of summer for many people.

"That's unlucky ? but to be expected," resident Tom Charity said. "It's been eight years since we've had a major hurricane come by here."

The city is expected to receive high tides and winds possibly up to 100 mph on shore. The peak of the storm is expected to hit the area around 3am Friday.

The biggest concern is the storm surge -- anything that would come up over the beach and get into some of the hotels and expensive vacation homes that line the outer banks of North Carolina.


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