Tourists, locals, business owners bracing for Hurricane Earl

By Tara Morgan - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander – email

VIRGINIA BEACH, VA (WWBT) - Tourists and locals are gearing up for Hurricane Earl. Several people from out of town say they're staying extra night just to watch the storm.

The beach was packed with people taking in the sand and rough surf. With camera in hand, Jean Hejnal snaps away at the crashing waves. As a former Virginia Beach resident, this isn't her first dance with Mother Nature.

"I love the surf. I love what it looks like. I like to take pictures," Hejnal said.

Surfer Jonah Burke loves to take his chances with the surf.

"Hurricanes means waves because there are never any waves here, so when there are storms you have to take full advantage of it," he said.

Tourists and locals flocked to Virginia Beach despite an impending storm. Red flags atop lifeguard stands warned of dangerous conditions.

"It's a little choppy, but I'm hoping to see it get even choppier. That's what I'm looking forward to," said visitor Joe Dohner. "I want a show. If I'm going to be here I want a show."

A lot of the boaters in local marinas have packed up their vessels and cleared out ahead of the storm. Emergency crews expect tropical storm force winds. That prompted some business owners to board up windows and patios.

"Normally we've never really closed for the hurricanes. If it's during the day let people have a hurricane party," said Mariah Standing with Waterman's Surfside Grille.

But Brandon Turner with "Ocean Mystique" doesn't want to return to work Friday morning to a big mess.

"Just the possibility that it could. Sometimes [hurricanes] go right on by and we don't feel a thing. Other times they come in and destroy the place," said Turner.

This weekend Virginia Beach will be packed with a music festival scheduled and half marathon. So far there are no cancellations. 

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