Geoff Dardia, a former Mainer now living in North Carolina, said “things are getting crazy” and he’s considering evacuating his home near Fayetteville, about 90 miles inland, because of the threat of river flooding.

“I’m packed up and ready to get out. I’ll judge it by the river,” Dardia said Friday night, as Hurricane Florence came ashore with 90 mph winds and slowed over the region. Forecasters worried that as much as 3½ feet of rain could fall in the slow-moving storm, swelling rivers and creating havoc across the southeast.

That’s what has Dardia worried. He lives near the Cape Fear River in Hope Mills outside of Fayetteville. “It’s getting crazy now. We’ve got about 60- to 70-mile gusts now. There are trees down and they are worried about that by Tuesday, this whole region will be flooded out,” he said. “Right now it’s a voluntary evacuation, but by Sunday they want everybody out of here.”

Dardia, who is from Kennebunkport and is an active duty member of the Army stationed out of Fort Bragg, is ready to leave and will make the decision to stay or go based on the conditions at the time. He still had power Friday night and was feeling hopeful.

Farther south in Indian Land, South Carolina, former Mainer Josie Conn had a regular work night Friday, taking orders and serving food in a barbecue restaurant that was unusually busy because of the storm. “Everybody keeps coming in to order takeout because they don’t have power or they don’t want to cook,” Conn said. “We have a lot of rain and a lot of wind – and we have power. So we’re staying open.”

She’s from New Vineyard, and now lives in Rock Hill, South Carolina, far inland from the coast and about 30 minutes from her job at the restaurant. She was worried about driving home Friday night after work.

“I saw a lot of trees down on my way in, so I am keeping my fingers crossed,” she said.

The good part about working during the storm was the tips, she said. “People are being very generous.”

Bob Keyes can be contacted at 791-6457 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: pphbkeyes

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