Hurricane Florence forces closures in North Carolina

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Photo by North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper/Twitter North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper meets with emergency officials as Hurricane Florence strikes the coast.

Plastics operators in North Carolina and elsewhere in the South-eastern US shut down plants as flooding and high winds from Hurricane Florence made landfall 14 Sept.

Companies such as Rowmark LLC shut down as early as 12 Sept so employees could heed evacuation warnings ahead of Florence.

A manufacturer of plastics that can be engraved for awards and signs, Rowmark has a site about 25 miles from hard-hit New Bern, North Carolina, where rising waters were waist high in a matter of minutes and people were being rescued from cars and homes.

Rowmark is closed until further notice, according to an employee who answered a phone call forwarded on 14 Sept to the company's Findlay, Ohio, location.

"The safety of our employees and their families is our primary concern," she said, adding that about 10 employees work at the small site. "All of our employees are okay. Most of them evacuated the area."

The status of many facilities near New Bern were not immediately available.

New Bern, a city of 30,000 on a river inlet of the Atlantic Ocean, was hit by 10 feet of storm surge and more than 7 inches of rain by daybreak on 14 Sept.

City of New Bern/Twitter A fiberglass decorative bear statue floats along Front Street in downtown New Bern, North Carolina. A storm surge and heavy rain have resulted in flooding throughout the community.

Hurricane Florence is expected to linger in the region, with predictions for up to 40 inches of rain in some areas.

Processors in New Bern include Carolina Technical Plastics Corp. and BSH Home Appliances Corp., an injection moulder and thermoformer, making parts of home appliances. Calls to both facilities could not be completed.

Further inland, Stephen Hasselbach Jr., the sales and business development director for CMI Plastics in Ayden, North Carolina, was keeping an eye on the thermoforming facility from afar. He said he was home watching cartoons with his daughter as well as a security system for the plant.

"So far we're doing okay," Hasselbach said. "There's a lot of wind and rain but we still have power at the facility according to the cameras. Everything looks okay so hopefully we're back up and running on Monday."

DAK Americas, which produces PET resins and polyester fibres, also shut down operations at its Cooper River and Monks Corner sites in South Carolina ahead of the hurricane.

"While we expect to resume full operations as soon as possible, we cannot determine the full impact or duration of the situation at this time," Ricky Lane, corporate communications director, said in an email Friday. "DAK Americas' primary concern is the safety of our employees, the community, and our site. We will continue to monitor this situation."

Hurricane Florence is expected to crawl near or along the coast of the Carolinas into Saturday, producing flash flooding and major river flooding. The storm's remnant is expected to linger in parts of the East into early next week.

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