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In the few business remaining open Thursday morning, diners hunkered down and customers scooped up ice.
The Wilmington area got a rude awakening from Hurricane Dorian Thursday morning, with torrential rains punctuated by early-morning tornado warnings.
Around town, people seemed to be staying off the roads for the most part, but a few places showed signs of activity.
At The Sawmill in Monkey Junction, the meat-and-three-style restaurant had a short wait, but the vibe was on the tense and quiet side as people ate their breakfasts with eyes glued to The Weather Channel.
“Yes, we are (open) — as of right now,” a waitress told someone over the phone.
“We decided we could get a few extra hours in, get some people fed,” said Sawmill owner Sean Howard. He said he planned on closing by lunch.
Convenience store Howard’s Seafood on Castle Street was boarded up but open Thursday morning.
“We’re doin’ good in the hood!” said Abdul Abdul, who was working the register, adding a fist pump for emphasis.
He said they’d been steady, selling mostly ice — “that’s all we’ve been sellin'” — as well a little seafood. Shrimp, flounder and more were fragrantly displayed over ice. Abdul vowed to remain open as long as he could, but promised that at “three o’clock I’m fryin’ up some crabs.”
Downtown Wilmington was eerily quiet, without so much as a coffee shop open. A rare sign of life was at The Waffle House on North Front Street, which was full of customers.
“We’ll be here till we lose power,” said manager “Action” Jackson Lee. “Downtown, we’re the only game in town. I looked up and down the street, it’s kind of a ghost town.”
Last year during Hurricane Florence, the downtown Waffle House stayed open for hours after losing power, but Lee said that wasn’t the plan this year. He doesn’t want to use a generator because of flooding concerns.
The only people in sight in North Fourth Street’s Brooklyn Arts District Thursday morning were Arty Seabury and Zeke Nathans, boarding up the windows at Fathom and Farm market.
“We’re just hunkering down,” Nathans said.
“Prepare for the worst and hope for the best,” Seabury added.
Contact John Staton at 910-343-2343 or John.Staton@StarNewsOnline.com. StarNews reporter Cammie Bellamy contributed to this story.