Its long sandy beaches and historic town with beautiful red brick houses have been used as a backdrop to many films, but the worst-case scenario in Wilmington is as real as it gets.
Sometimes called “Wilmywood” or “East Hollywood”, the port city of North Carolina, which has a population of just over 100,000, has hosted the filming of “Iron Man 3” and “Hunger” Games.”
But the only cameras that are currently shooting are those of the television crews that came to document the preparations of the local population.
The potential trajectory of the hurricane, with wind speeds of up to 215 km/h, can change with the weather reports, a constant emerges: Wilmington and its region should be in the front row when Florence will crash with his arrival on the continent.
And as with most American disaster films, the script is so far fairly traditional: shops and homes caulked behind wooden planks, empty shelves in supermarkets, dry gas pumps …
On the casting side, there are those, like Ken Ripley, who has owned for the last fifteen years a big house by the sea, who intend to go and get away, inland. .
The retiree has seen more than one hurricane in the skies of North Carolina, but “this one is by far the worst,” he says, fixing sheets of metal on his windows.
“The roof could fly, but I hope it (the hurricane) will not damage the structure of the house (…) I’ll be back here a week after it passes, there should be a lot of repairs to be done. ”
There are also those, like Josh Ledford, who have nowhere to go other than emergency refuges in public buildings. So he resolves to this idea.
“I do not want to stay here as long as people say. Probably two or three days, no more, “said the agribusiness employee in front of the still closed doors of Trask College. “But if it’s necessary, I think there will be no choice.”
Ryan Limpert also did not come from a gaiety of heart to seek refuge in this suburban school, but he hopes to “be in a safe place” alongside other lonely souls and families who often took with them only the bare minimum, pillows and blankets.
“There seems to be a lot of people here who want to help,” he says. “So I stay positive.”
The trend was generally Tuesday at the start on the roads of the region.
Highway 40 seemed almost open only in one direction: to the north, far from the coast and the huge floods announced. On the other side of the road, a very sporadic traffic: not many people apparently want this week to hold the wrong role in “Wilmywood”.
Evacuation operations involve 1.7 million people in South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia. Hurricane Florence was still ranked Wednesday in category 4 on the Saffir-Simpson scale which has 5.
Anders Berizin is a Senior Politics Reporter at Daily News Advisor covering state and national politics, and he is a grantee with the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting. Before joining Daily News Advisor, Anders worked as a researcher and writer for the Institute for Northern Studies at Ohio State University and as a freelance journalist in Kentucky, having been published by over dozens of outlits including NPR, the Center for Media and VICE.com.