Nightly News   |  September 02, 2010

Island dwellers delve into disaster prep

In Hyannis, Mass., emergency crews loaded utility trucks onto a ferry bound for Nantucket as they try to get ahead of the storm. NBC's Michelle Franzen reports from Cape Cod.

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This content comes from a Full-Text Transcript of the program.

MICHELLE FRANZEN reporting: This is Michelle Franzen on Cape Cod . Boat owners in Chatham Harbor scramble to move vessels out of harm's way. All of Cape Cod , along with Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard , now bracing for Hurricane Earl . And locals like Fred Bennett are taking notice.

Mr. FRED BENNETT: You got to pay attention. I didn't get to be 74 by not paying attention.

FRANZEN: It was calm today on the vacation island of Nantucket , but Earl is expected to pack winds between 75 to 100 miles per hour , a threat to trees and power lines. In Hyannis , emergency crews loaded utility trucks onto a ferry bound for Nantucket , trying to get ahead of the storm before it hits. But the threat of Earl did not stop visitors from traveling to the island while they still could.

Ms. MEGAN BENNETT (Nantucket Resident): I was here for Hurricane Bob . I think that was the last time they expected this big of a hurricane, so I think my timing's about appropriate.

FRANZEN: Meanwhile, residents like Howard Franzglau are not taking any chances. He moved to the cape from Florida five years ago and, unlike many who plan to ride out the storm, Franzglau is leaving.

Mr. HOWARD FRANZGLAU: When you've been through a number of them, as I have, you learn to be very, very skeptical and you probably overprepare.

FRANZEN: Massachusetts' governor has already called for a state of emergency. So far, there are no mandatory evacuations. Instead, leaders are encouraging those who want to relocate to do it soon since the only two bridges leading on and off the cape could close once winds reach 70 miles per hour .

Governor DEVAL PATRICK (Democrat, Massachusetts): If you are in low-lying or flood-prone areas or in open areas, make plans to relocate by tomorrow afternoon.

FRANZEN: For those who stay behind, the Red Cross and Salvation Army have set up a half a dozen shelters around the cape prepared and ready to activate if necessary. But tonight, people are still able to enjoy these relatively calm waters in the bay before Earl barrels in.

WILLIAMS: Michelle Franzen on what is still, as you mentioned, a beautiful night on the cape.