Wrightsville Beach officials watching Tropical Storm Erika

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In Friday’s meeting of Wrightsville Beach town department heads, officials will discuss initial preparations for Tropical Storm Erika, which has the potential to affect southeastern North Carolina next week, the National Weather Service said.

Officials will need more information before they can determine what precautions Wrightsville Beach and New Hanover County would need to take, town manager Tim Owens said, adding that town officials will have a better idea if the storm is a threat to the region by Sunday or Monday.

The storm could threaten next weekend’s Labor Day activities, Owens said, as visitors may cut short vacations if the storm is forecast to hit the region.

A Thursday afternoon report from the NWS showed Erika was expected to hit Puerto Rico on Friday morning and hit other mountainous Caribbean nations through Friday night, which could hinder the storm’s development. The report said that tropical storm winds possibilities for the region have diminished slightly since the morning, due to the storm’s path taking a more southern track.

Town staff performed a mock hurricane preparation in mid-July, where officials reviewed their daily responsibilities for storm preparation in the days leading up to the storm. Some of the early preparations will be to make sure vehicle and generators are fully fueled and that low-lying items are secured. If the storm appears more likely to make landfall in the region, more extensive preparations would be needed, like removing the trash barrels from the beach, possibly removing the lifeguard chairs and moving computers and files inland if a direct hit is expected, Owens said.

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