Hurricane Florence: North Carolina communities could get hit with 13-foot storm surge

CAROLINA BEACH, N.C. — The fire department in Carolina Beach was sounding one final alarm Wednesday, urging residents to evacuate the island before Hurricane Florence makes landfall.

They passed right by Dolly Whittington's house, but she said she's not leaving.

"We have been in some other hurricanes, we're not trying to be heroic or anything like that, but we feel like we have just as good a chance here as we would in town," she said.

By in town, she means Wilmington, which is 13 miles away, across the Snow's Cut Bridge that will be shut down once winds reach 45 mph. That would leave people like Whittington essentially cut off.

Whittington is aware of a potentially 13-foot storm surge that's predicted to hit Carolina Beach before, during and after Florence makes landfall, battering and inundating low-lying homes with water. Storm surge occurs when the force of hurricane winds push ocean water ashore.

It has Hanover County Commissioner Woody White very worried.

"As you know most loss of life and threats to life are from the surge," he said.