Florence-battered Jacksonville worries about Dorian

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— Many Jacksonville residents are still recovering – physically and emotionally – from Hurricane Florence last fall as they watch Hurricane Dorian churn toward the North Carolina coast.

Workers at Maready’s Construction and Maintenance were loading all of their equipment and supplies into U-Hauls on Wednesday and moving everything to a storage space on higher ground.

“We are just trying to pack up everything we have to salvage what we can,” Kayla Maready said.

Florence left about 9 feet of water in business, and high-water lines remain a common sight in Jacksonville, where people aren’t quite ready for another storm.

“I’ve lived here my whole entire life – I’m 28 years old – and last year was the first time I’ve ever seen it that bad,” Maready said.

Onslow County is under a voluntary evacuation order, and those residents choosing to stay are getting the generators ready and preparing for the worst from Dorian – while hoping for the best.

“There’s a lot of areas in town that were under water. Some of them haven’t gotten back into their homes,” resident Allan Meloni said.

Fran Bing is one of those people. She lost her roof in Florence and is still living in rental housing.

“I’m out of my house. I had five or six friends completely displaced, and some of them got back last week,” Bing said.

She said she hopes Dorian doesn’t stick around as long as Florence did. That storm stalled off the North Carolina coast and dumped rain across the southeast part of the state for several days.

“This thing, by the time it gets here, hopefully – please God – will be going somewhere else, unlike Florence, who decided to take up North Carolina residency,” she said.