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Access to cut off the road to N. Carolina town after Florence

A truck leaves the Interstate 40 outside of Wilmington, N. C., after damage from Hurricane Florence, cut off from the city Sunday, Sept. 16, 2018. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)

WILMINGTON, N. C. – Authorities are looking by air and water to get food in a North Carolina town that was cut off from road access by the Florence water.

The main motorways in the area of Wilmington, Interstate 40 and U.S. 74, are not accessible, and Sunday, the officials said.

“There is no access to Wilmington, the” Woody White, chairman of the provincial Board of directors, said Sunday at a press conference.

State Secretary of Transportation Jim Trogdon, said one of his priorities to determine how to restore the land access to the area. Trogdon said the state was working with the Ministry of Defense and the National Guard to see if they could get first responders to Wilmington in high-water vehicles. He also said that the officials were working on “other contingencies to support Wilmington on the ocean side.”

While the city was cut off from the outside world, streets in Wilmington were working with the motorists.

Victor Merlos was overjoyed to find a store open for business because he had about 20 family members in his apartment, which still has power. He spent more than $500 on grains, eggs, soft drinks, and other necessities, plus beer.

“I have everything I need for my whole family,” said Merlos.

The police guarded the door of another store and only 10 people were allowed inside at a time. Dallas Perdue told The Associated Press he waited about two hours to get to the store to buy a few groceries.

In the neighbourhood, there is a Waffle House restaurant limited breakfast customers to a biscuit and a drink, all take-out, with the price of $2 per item. The line for gasoline at a Costco store stretched about a half mile along a road.

The water utility, Cape Fear Public Utility Authority, said Sunday that it had only a 48-hour supply of fuel to provide water. However, it later said in a press release that a source of fuel was found and there was no direct threat to the service.

While Wilmington has survived its share of hurricanes, including Hurricane Fran in September 1996, the city of 120,000 has not suffered the amount of rain that fell from Florence, which has now weakened to a tropical depression.

Typically, it is a tourist town and the home of EUE Screen Gems, a film company that the city has the nickname of “Hollywood of the East,” although production has decreased since the legislators reduced film incentives. Tv shows such as “Dawson’s Creek” and “One Tree Hill” were filmed, movies that include “The Hunger Games” and “Iron Man 3.”

It is the birthplace of basketball great and Charlotte Hornets owner Michael Jordan and is known for its historic homes and the annual Azalea Festival.

But as the rain continued to fall, the officials asked the North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper for additional enforcement of the law, including the National Guard, White said.

Patients on oxygen and dialysis were moved from New Hanover County Medical Center, Hoggard High School, a new building scheduled to open to the public at 5 pm on Sunday. There is space for 1,387 people.

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Waggoner reported from Raleigh, North Carolina.

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Follow Martha Waggoner on Twitter http://twitter.com/mjwaggonernc .

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For the latest news on Hurricane Florence, visit https://www.apnews.com/tag/Hurricanes

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