Southeastern N.C. shelters filling fast in advance of Florence

View The Original Article Here

Hundreds of area residents were flocking to county shelters in Wilmington, New Hanover, Brunswick and Pender on Sept. 12, in advance of Hurricane Florence.

Hundreds of area residents were flocking to emergency shelters in three coastal counties Wednesday in advance of Hurricane Florence.

“It’s hectic, really hectic,” said Dan Prelich, an American Red Cross worker who was supervising the shelter at North Brunswick High School in Leland. Some 20 people slept at the shelter Tuesday night in the school’s gym, and dozens more began filing in early on Wednesday, he said.

In New Hanover County, Trask Middle School reached its legal capacity of 240 shortly after noon Wednesday, but spaces were still available at the Johnson Pre-K Center, according to New Hanover County spokesman Dahria Kianpour.

Spaces were still available at two shelters in the Raleigh area — Southeast Raleigh Magnet High School and Garner Magnet High School — which are accepting New Hanover County residents, Kianpour said.

More than 300 people had checked into Pender County’s four shelters by late morning Wednesday, according to spokesman Tammy Proctor.

“It’s hectic,” said Red Cross worker Carole Koch, pushing a grocery cart full of bottled water and snack foods into the shelter at South Brunswick High School in Boiling Spring Lakes. Between 40 and 60 people had checked in by mid-morning Wednesday.

Cots were running short at both the North Brunswick and South Brunswick high school shelters. Prelich said these were being reserved for the time being for seniors and children. A truck was expected from Raleigh with extra cots; in the meantime, residents were encouraged to bring their own bedding and air mattresses if available.

Those who don’t like sleeping on air mattresses should bring lawn chairs from home, suggested Red Coss worker Janet DePou.

Animals were moving into shelters, too. At Trask Middle School, 15 dogs and 12 cats were in cages or carriers in a makeshift kennel in an auxiliary gym Wednesday morning, according to Deputy S.D. Watson of the New Hanover County Sheriff’s Department.

“We’ve got this down to a science,” said Watson, who praised staff from the county’s animal shelter for a smooth set-up. Shelter clients were allowed to visit their pets and would be given regularly scheduled times to walk them, he added.

Facilities for pets were also set up at North and South Brunswick and at the shelter at West Brunswick High School, 550 Whiteville Road in Shallotte.

Prelich praised the cafeteria staff at North Brunswick High School, who were preparing meals for those sheltered there.

Reporter Ben Steelman can be reached at 910-343-2208 or