Cattle show visitors keep eye on storm

Published 1:13 am Saturday, August 27, 2011

Doug Williams (left) talks with fellow Brangus breeder Sean Parker. Williams and fellow North Carolinians don't expect Hurricane Irene to damage their homes.

As Hurricane Irene bore down on the coast, cattlemen and their families from the affected areas waited in Andalusia and watched to see what damage the storm would leave in its path.

The group was not hurricane evacuees. Instead, they were here this weekend for the Southeast Brangus Breeders Association Showcase Sale and annual membership event, which is being held at the Covington Center Arena. For more information on the event, see the related story on Page 5A.

The majority of the breeder groups in the hurricane’s vicinity said they didn’t think the storm would affect their hometowns, which included Lexington and Swansea, S.C., and Purcellville, Va.

Neighbors Evon Crooks, Doug Williams and Jim Latham, all residents of Mocksville, N.C., said the storm shouldn’t impact their return home on Sunday.

“We’re about six hours west from the coast,” Williams said. “Really, for us, all we’re expecting is a lot of rain, which is a blessing. The storm should impact our route home, and considering I’m towing a trailer and cows back home, I sure hope it doesn’t. I think we’ll be OK.”

As the Category 2 hurricane approached the North Carolina coast Friday, public officials along the coast all the way to New York, were busy making preparations should things not turn out “OK” for their residents.

In New Jersey, casinos closed for the third time ever in 33 years. In New York, evacuations were ordered for more than 250,000 people in low-lying areas of the city, and city officials prepared to shut down its entire mass transit system.

The hurricane is expected to make landfall today in North Carolina, dropping as much as 8 inches of rain on parts of the mid-Atlantic and New England.

Power outages and the need for relief workers is expected once the storm makes its way through; however, as of Friday, local volunteers with the American Red Cross had been asked for their assistance.

Interim Chapter Director Don Johnson said the bulk of the volunteer effort will be taken from the national service area.

“Red Cross headquarters is in Washington,” Johnson said. “I expect most of the volunteers will be drawn from that area’s local chapters.”

Johnson said he has not been asked to open a shelter locally.

“I’m guessing everyone will head west,” he said. “That’s what I’d do.”