Wrightsville Beach evacuates for first time since Fran, deals with ‘stragglers’

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Wrightsville Beach successfully completed its first evacuation since Hurricane Fran in 1996, officials said on Thursday morning, though there were a few “stragglers,” according to police chief Dan House.

While the strength of Hurricane Florence was downgraded to a Category 2 by meteorologists overnight, House warned that the power of the storm could still have a big impact on Wrightsville Beach. The evacuation of Wrightsville Beach remains in effect, House said.

“Hurricane Sandy was a Category 2 and it had a big impact on states up north,” he said, referencing the 2012 storm that caused $70 billion in damage to Mid-Atlantic and New England states.

While most have left, House said that a few remained and that there were some “incidents” overnight. One included a breaking and entering arrest by a suspect who was believed to be on the island in an employment capacity. Police also cited a driver with driving intoxicated, who despite registering below the legal alcohol limit, was suspected of being under the influence of other substances.

Officials said that despite the weakening of the storm, severe flooding and wind damage is still a threat. Currently, the water and sewer systems have been shut off in Wrightsville Beach, though the power remains on.

Officials will hold another briefing at 2 p.m. today.

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