Arthur keeps NC beachgoers’ plans up in the air

aspecht@newsobserver.comJuly 3, 2014 

— Pattie Overcash didn’t want Hurricane Arthur to interrupt her family’s vacation.

Family members had driven from Kentucky and Indiana to stay at Overcash’s home on Atlantic Beach for July Fourth. She had stuck it out through worse storms before.

But after meteorologists said Arthur could become a Category 2 storm, Overcash decided to play it safe. The family packed up her minivan, stopped at an ice machine on the Atlantic Beach Causeway, then headed for a relative’s place in Durham.

“I don’t want to be without power with two 8-month-olds in the house,” Overcash said, referring to her youngest nephews.

All along the North Carolina coast Thursday, Hurricane Arthur proved hard to predict and, thus, hard to plan for.

Joanna Dodge, a lifeguard at Atlantic Beach, said a lot of tourists asked her whether they should leave the shore.

“The beach isn’t closed, so we say, ‘It’s really up to you,’ ” Dodge said.

As for Dodge, a native of the area: “It would have to be a strong Category 4 for me to leave.”

Like Dodge, Jay and Rita Landsiedel of Cary interpreted the fast-moving but low-category storm as a short interruption in an otherwise long holiday weekend.

The Landsiedels sat in folding chairs on Atlantic Beach with their teenage kids as dark clouds hovered across the horizon.

“We paid for three days, so we’re staying,” Jay said.

The ocean churned violently in front of them, and waves slid over their feet as loose sand whipped down the shore.

“The water’s warm, the parking lot is empty, and it’s not raining right now, so it’s not that bad,” said his daughter, Elyse.

Seth and Ashley Miller of West Virginia didn’t think it was so bad, either.

“I think it’s pretty,” Ashley Miller said.

Then again, the couple was a little dazed.

The Millers, both 19, got married at the courthouse in New Bern on Thursday morning. By 4 in the afternoon, they were taking photos on the beach and drawing hearts in the sand. Ashley was still in her wedding dress.

“I heard it’s good luck if it rains on your wedding day,” said Seth Miller, a lance corporal stationed at the Cherry Point Marine base.

Up the beach, 80-year-old Jesse Carawan wasn’t about to rely on luck to keep his 45-year-old trailer house safe. The rain had just started to pick up when he started covering the windows and purple shutters.

“You know, you never can tell how bad it’s gonna get,” Carawan said. “I wish I could get on that roof, but I sure can’t when it’s blowing like this.”

He and his wife, Jacque, drove to the house from Plymouth after hearing on TV that the storm had been upgraded.

“We’ve had insurance on this thing the whole time and never used it,” Jacque Carawan said. “And we’re not about to start needing it now.”

Specht: 919-460-2608; Twitter: @AndySpecht

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