Florida residents flock to NC ahead of Hurricane Ian

MORRISVILLE, NC – Hurricane Ian is not expected to affect North Carolina until at least Friday, but Duke Energy is braced for the storm, and some Floridians are heading for the Triangle.

Ian is expected to impact three of the six states that Duke Energy serves. Jeff Brooks, a spokesman for Duke Energy, told WRAL News WRAL News teams will stay local until they feel as positive they are not needed before deploying elsewhere to help.

“We have to make sure we’re protecting our business here,” Brooks said. “We will not release crews from the Carolinas until we are certain that our areas will not be affected. Our first priority is always the local community.”

Brooks says it’s not uncommon for multiple states to be affected at the same time.

“It’s really like moving an army,” Brooks said. “And that’s something we’ve had a lot of experience with, unfortunately.”

Crews from Kentucky, Indiana and Ohio are also available to assist workers in the Carolinas and Florida.

Laura Albright, resident of St. Pete Beach, was at Raleigh-Durham International Airport on Monday. Albright, who lives right on the beach, said she evacuated to NC to stay with her friend in Wake Forest.

Another woman, Ann Firestine, was returning home to Durham after picking up her mother from an assisted living facility in Florida and taking her to the Triangle to weather the storm.

“She lives right on the bay,” Firestine said. “They’re ready to evacuate, and they’ll be gone in about two hours. I caught the first flight I could get.”

Florida is expected to experience impacts from Ian, including heavy rain, devastating high tides and strong winds, Tuesday through Friday, as the storm lays off the southwest coast of the state.

NC could see the impact of up to 4 inches of rain and isolated tornadoes Friday and throughout the weekend.

Albright hopes to see a mandatory evacuation for her area.

“Thanks to my friends who let me stay with them, I can relax,” she said. “This is my choice.”

When asked if she was worried about her house, Albright replied, “There’s nothing I can do about it, so I won’t worry about it now because I’m safe.”

Leslie Gagliano was at the RDU to pick up Albright. The two met many years ago when they both lived in New York.

“She texted me and I was so happy to have her,” Gagliano said. “I think it’s just going to be something where we get a lot of rain, maybe some wind. I don’t think it’s going to be anything we can’t handle here. [in N.C.]. “

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