Watch issued as Carolinas prepare for Emily



CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP)—Waves along the shore weren’t big enough to interest surfers Sunday, but Hurricane Emily was on a blustery path toward land, and coastal residents rushed to stock up on food and supplies.

Late in the afternoon, the National Weather Service declared a hurricane watch from Cape Romain, about 20 miles north of Charleston, to Fenwick Island on the Delaware-Maryland line. North Carolina officials also advised 2,500 people to leave an island that is accessible only by boat.

A watch means hurricane conditions pose a threat. A warning means hurricane conditions with sustained wind of more than 74 mph are expected within 24 hours.

Some, remembering 1989’s deadly Hurricane Hugo, made plans to leave.

‘‘I wouldn’t want to go through the fear again. It’s easier to get out than to stay,’‘ said William Holden, who left his North Myrtle Beach condominium to return to his home in New Jersey.

Hugo smashed into Charleston in September 1989. From the Caribbean islands to the Carolinas, it caused at least $5.9 billion in damage and killed 85 people.

At 8 p.m. Sunday, Emily’s center was located near latitude 31.3 north and longitude 70.3 west or about 410 miles southeast of Cape Hatteras, N.C.

Emily was moving west-northwest at 9 mph. Its top sustained wind speed was about 80 mph with some strengthening expected. A National Hurricane Center advisory projected the storm could make landfall Tuesday, possibly in North Carolina or even much farther north.

North Carolina officials ordered the evacuation of the National Park Service campground on Ocracoke Island on Sunday. They also advised the approximately 2,500 people on the island, accessible only by ferry, to leave.

Officials in North Carolina’s Dare County, where much of the chain of fragile barrier islands called the Outer Banks is located, said an evacuation would probably be ordered overnight for all or part of the county.

‘‘Right now, you wouldn’t even know if anything is going on,’‘ said Andy McCann, owner of the Nags Head Pier. ‘‘The ocean is flat. There aren’t even any surfers out there.’‘

Although some people familiar with Hugo were packing up, out-of-towners continued to arrive for vacations, including golfers who registered Sunday at the Myrtle Beach Convention Center for the 1993 World Amateur Handicap Championship.

‘‘We’ll be here for all four days,’‘ Larry Robinson of Columbus, Ohio, told The (Myrtle Beach) Sun News. ‘‘If it rains, I’ll just put on my rainsuit and play.’‘

Meanwhile, Kellogg Supply Company in Kill Devil Hills, normally closed on Sunday, opened at noon to sell sheets of plywood.

The population of Dare County is at its peak right now, more than 100,000 including summer residents.

As South Carolina hunkered down, the Federal Emergency Management Agency sent several trucks with supplies from Miami to Thomasville, Ga. They will be dispatched when it’s clear which areas are most affected by the storm, said FEMA spokesman Morrie Goodman.

In Charleston, South Carolina Electric & Gas Co. made sure its generators and supplies were in place. The Navy said 16 ships and seven submarines from the Charleston Navy Base were ready to head to sea if necessary to avoid the storm.

The Coast Guard reminded boaters not to try to ride out the storm in small craft. A dozen people died during Hugo trying to do that, the agency said.

The Yugoslav freighter Kapetan Martinovic was also ordered to weigh anchor and leave the harbor to ride out the storm. The 500-foot freighter has sat in the harbor since last fall when it was detained by the federal government, which froze $450 million in former Yugoslav assets.

Mary Connelly of R&B Creations, a T-shirt printing company, had given scant thought to a Hurricane Emily T-shirt.

‘‘I’ve passed around a few thoughts in my head,’‘ she said. ‘‘But right now I’m more concerned with what I need to do to get prepared.’‘