Ride out this one with extreme caution

As we write this, Hurricane Florence still sits a ways off the coast of both Carolinas, a menacing monster of a storm bearing down on places that we here in Sampon and Duplin love, especially the pristine coast, the port city of Wilmington and places like Charleston and Myrtle Beach, all possible targets of the mighty hurricane’s wrath.

But just because forecasters are predicting the most dramatic devastation at the coast and 60 miles south of us doesn’t mean we should heave a sigh of relief. Far from it. Predicted here in Sampson and just down the road in neighboring Duplin are winds at or above 70 mph and torrential rains that are very likely to cause flooding.

In other words, the potential for dangers are far from over. While we aren’t sounding the panic button nor urging readers to shift into freak-out mode, we are pleading for caution and an adherence to the curfews being imposed, a way to ensure safety for individuals and businesses.

Sampson County has a curfew that will become effective tonight at 7 p.m. and remain in effect each evening from 7 p.m. until 7 a.m. until it is rescinded.

The town of Roseboro has imposed its own curfew with the same hours as the county’s; that, too, begins tonight at 7 p.m.

It is likely other towns will follow suit. While some might think this is unnecessary and intrusive, we would hope people could see that leaders are merely doing what they believe is best for everyone’s safety. Curfews help to ensure that people do what they really need to do most — stay in dry safe, places, hunker down and ride out the storm.

Shelters opened Wednesday, and we urge those who live in low-lying areas, in mobile homes and unsound structures to seek refuge there. No one should take a chance with this storm or underestimate its power.

And no one should venture out too soon, understanding that with predicted 70 mph winds and heavy rains, followed by what could be extensive flooding, trees can be down, roads can be washed, sink holes can come out of no where. All are dangers that can and should be avoided.

Remember Fran? Remember Floyd? Remember Matthew?

We hope everyone does, and will heed the lessons all those powerful storms taught about being prepared, staying home and waiting until the all-clear is given from those on the ground.

Riding out a storm isn’t easy. Tension is high, worry abounds and uncertainty sits on the cusp of our minds. But we believe in the power of prayer and trusting in a higher power to take us through the storm.

We need to prepare, be cautious and rest the remainder in the hands of the only one who can truly protect us from Florence.