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Expert says Ian's biggest threat to ENC will be effects of heavy rainfall and coastal and river flooding

Dr Rick Leuttich UNC.jpg
(Photo credit: UNC)
Dr. Rick Luettich is the Director of the UNC Institute of Marine Sciences in Morehead City.

With Hurricane Ian approaching eastern North Carolina, one expert says the biggest threat will be water produced by heavy rainfall and coastal and river flooding.

Dr. Rick Luettich is the Director of the UNC Institute of Marine Sciences in Morehead City and he said often in storms like this people choose to ride it out – and that can be dangerous.

“People whose houses came down around them found themselves out in the water and the ones that lives to tell about it may have caught onto a tree branch and spent hours clutching to a tree just to keep themselves from being swept away,” he said, “The water is that powerful.”

He said more deaths from tropical storms and hurricanes are water related vs wind related.

“The water does more damage, it kills more people, and it takes longer to recover from than the wind,” Leuttich said, “So, it turns out that, particularly near the coast, the water is the worst hazard, the worst threat that people face.”

Dr. Luettich added that if there are evacuation orders issued in eastern North Carolina, people should heed them because while it’s often possible to shelter from high winds, the only way to shelter from flooding is to leave.

Annette is originally a Midwest gal, born and raised in Michigan, but with career stops in many surrounding states, the Pacific Northwest, and various parts of the southeast. She has been involved in the media industry in eastern North Carolina for more than three years. An award-winning journalist and mother of four, Annette moved to ENC to be closer to family – in particular, her two young grandchildren. It’s possible that a -27 day with a -68 windchill in Minnesota may have also played a role in that decision. In her spare time, Annette does a lot of toddler and baby cuddling, reading, designing costumes for children’s theater and producing the coolest Halloween costumes anyone has ever seen. She has also worked as a diversity and inclusion facilitator serving school districts and large corporations. It’s the people that make this beautiful area special, and she wants to share those stories that touch the hearts of others. If you have a story idea to share, please reach out by email to westona@cravencc.edu.