A 96-hour preparation manual known with local authorities as “the storm bible” has been put in use on a number of occasions a number of times in recent years and is continuously updated and improved.
The last few hours of the manual went into play Thursday morning as Mount Olive put into operation the last directives of the “storm bible.”
“This is not a new rodeo for us, and we have been through it two times already in the past three years,” said Mount Olive Town Manager Charles Brown after he met for the last time on Thursday morning with his department heads as Hurricane Dorian approached.
It was a final check to make sure everything in the manual had been followed and done.
“All we can do now is sit and wait and hope for the best,” Brown told the Tribune on Thursday.
The storm brought rainfall that dumped 9.1 inches on Mount Olive over a 24-hour period, according to the National Weather Service in Raleigh.
It began at mid-morning Thursday and lasted through daybreak Friday.
Winds across Wayne County ranged from 39 to 57 mph, according to the NWS. But Mount Olive made it through the storm with little damage.
“We were really fortunate that the rain fell over an extended period of time and as far as I am concerned we dodged the bullet this time,” Brown said.
The only tree that fell was a large oak on South Chestnut Street. It fell during the night on Thursday and in the opposite direction of a recently-built Habitat for Humanity home.
Still, thousands of people awoke without power in Wayne and Duplin counties Friday morning. The Tri-County Electric Membership Corporation announced that a total of 2,436 customers in Wayne County and 2,781 in Duplin County were without electricity as of 7 a.m. Crews planned to have most of the outages restored by the end of the day.
Crews were cleaning up the fallen tree on Friday.
There were no reported incidents of flooding, but water was standing in front yards of homes in the flood plain zone.
No sewage spills were reported.
Winds from the storm continued on Friday morning, ranging from 15 to 20 mph.
Two disaster shelters that opened to serve the south end of the county were at Spring Creek Elementary and North Duplin Elementary. Neither location was filled to capacity.
Wayne County was under a curfew that was effective from 9 p.m. Thursday night until 6 a.m. on Friday.
Town manager Brown said he is not aware of any curfew violations in Mount Olive or any other emergency issues as a result of the storm.
One business on Breazeale Avenue, Auto Zone, did make storm preparations by boarding up its windows.
Town hall shut down for business at 3 p.m. on Thursday and remained closed on Friday.