Charley fizzles in Wayne
By News-Argus Staff
Published in News on August 15, 2004 7:28 AM
Hurricane Charley had fizzled into a tropical storm with moderate winds and only a couple hours of heavy rain by the time it reached Wayne County Saturday afternoon.
Wayne and Duplin residents were braced for the worst after Charley had devastated areas of southwest Florida on Friday.
But by the time Charley had reached the Coastal Plain of North Carolina around noon Saturday he was like a worn out prize fighter, there wasn't much punch left.
Rain was the big problem creating flooded roads in some areas. By late in the afternoon most roads were passable.
Two inches of rain were recorded at the News-Argus office from midnight Friday to 6 p.m. Saturday. A rain gauge on Emmas Church Road near Dudley also recorded two inches of rain during the day Saturday.
The highest sustained wind, as measured by the National Weather Service at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, was 24 miles per hour gusting to 30 miles per hour at mid-afternoon.
Some roads were flooded for a short period of time. New Hope Road between Berkeley Boulevard and Eastern Wayne High School was under water early Saturday afternoon.
Some road flooding was reported in the Hood Swamp section of eastern Wayne County.
A highway crew was sent to remove a tree that had fallen across New Hope Road behind Wayne Community College.
That was the only call, said Luther Thompson with the Department of Transportation. He said high water crossed roads in few places in several areas of Wayne County.
Hotels get business
The hurricane brought a double-edged sword to the hotel business in Goldsboro this weekend.
David Howell at Best Western said he had people drive from the coast, get tired and stop in Goldsboro. But he also had some out-of-state bookings that canceled because of the weather.
"We've ended up with pretty good capacity," he said Saturday afternoon. "I'd say we're probably running about 20 percent or 30 percent up from a normal weekend."
A man told Howell he had been evacuated from Myrtle Beach, and this was the first hotel he had found that had a room open. Another group that had gone to Atlantic Beach for a family reunion had headed for Raleigh to get away from the storm and decided to stop at the Best Western in Goldsboro, because of the rain.
"We picked up some fleeing the storm, and we had some stay over," he said. "Some who had decided to stay over looked at how pretty it was and left anyway.... This could have been a whole lot worse."
He said he expected to reach close to capacity Saturday night. The hotel, which has 116 rooms, had occupancy Saturday afternoon in the high 70s.
Kelly Slattery at Jameson Inn had a lot of people from the coast, but many came from Progress Energy. She said the hotel would be at capacity when all of the reservations arrived. A lot of people were afraid of the storm and expecting the worst.
"We're lucky," she said.
The desk clerk at Comfort Inn was swamped, with eight people waiting to get rooms.
The Hampton Inn and Holiday Inn had no comment.
In Mount Olive, the Sleep Inn was expecting to be filled Saturday night. Deann Poirier said 60 of the 68 rooms had been filled, and the rest were awaiting the arrival of reservations.
"We're very fortunate," she said. "It's cloudy and overcast, but we missed the brunt of the storm."
A dinner on base for Brig. Gen. Eric Rosborg, the commander of the Fourth Fighter Wing at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, has been postponed until 5 p.m. today.
The Wayne County Landfill, the Gateway Buses and the Wayne County Library branches were all closed Saturday. WGBR's birthday celebration was canceled.
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