A state of emergency and tropical storm watch is in effect for all of North Carolina because of the projected path of Hurricane Michael on Wednesday.
According to those projections, Scotland County could easily be the welcoming mat for Michael, which is expected to be downgraded to a tropical storm by the time it moves through Georgia and South Carolina.
The hurricane, the second within just 30 days to make landfall in the U.S. following Hurricane Florence on Sept. 14, came ashore along the Florida Panhandle on Wednesday as a strong Category 4 and began moving to the northeast.
Although rain began falling in Scotland County on Wednesday morning, the bulk of the expected rainfall from Michael was predicted for Thursday.
“We’re looking at getting 3 to 6 inches of rain, along with up to 50 mph winds from this storm, which could be a tropical storm or tropical depression by the time it arrives,” Roylin Hammond, Scotland County emergency services director, told WLNC radio. “There could be power outages, roads blocked … any amount of rain will puddle up quickly.
“We encourage people to be prepared and self-sufficient for up to 72 hours.”
The warnings prompted area residents to fill local stores and gas stations to stock up on essentials like bread, milk, water, snack foods and gasoline.
“I’m not taking any chances,” said Kirby Winston, who lives in Scotland County just outside Maxton. “My family waited too long last time (before Hurricane Florence) and couldn’t find bread or milk — and gas required a really long wait no matter where you went.”
The approaching storm has postponed or canceled a number of local events, including Scotland High sports activities and the annual John Blue Cotton Festival.
W. Curt Vincent can be reached at 910-506-3023 or [email protected]