09/05/04 — Frances should miss Wayne County

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Frances should miss Wayne County

By News-Argus Staff
Published in News on September 5, 2004 9:00 AM

Beach communities should be prepared for dangerous surf conditions.

The North Carolina mountains are preparing for flooding.

But in Wayne County and much of eastern North Carolina, Hurricane Frances so far is a non-event.

As of Saturday night, the National Weather Service was predicting just scattered showers and thunderstorms from Monday through Wednesday with light winds for Wayne and Duplin counties.

The path of the slow-moving hurricane as of Saturday night was several hundred miles west of Wayne. If the track moves east over the next two days, Wayne could get some rain.

Along the state's southeastern coast, most towns used red warning flags and beach patrols to warn tourists -- whose numbers were expected to grow as the Labor Day weekend progressed -- about dangerous rip currents.

Kure Beach police Chief Dennis Cooper looked at the mix of nearly 10-foot waves, rip currents and potentially inexperienced swimmers and closed that town's beaches to swimming Friday

The chief said he might reconsider his decision this weekend when he has more lifeguards on duty and if the surf flattened out.

Randy Thompson, Brunswick County's emergency management director, said all of the county's beach towns were watching the surf closely.

"Pretty much the caution is there," he said. "But right now they aren't stopping anyone from going swimming.

Officials with Carolina Beach and Wrightsville Beach said they also were monitoring conditions, although they weren't ready to close their beaches to swimmers.

Although the official forecast Saturday called for 1 to 3 inches of widespread rainfall in the mountains, local amounts could be much higher, said Susan Yeaman, meteorological technician for the National Weather Service in Raleigh.

The best chance of rain appeared to be Tuesday and early Wednesday, when the forecast called for a 100 percent chance of rain in the mountains, she said.

Leave was canceled for all state Highway Patrol troopers and all National Guard units and other emergency personnel were put on alert.