Cape Hatteras pastor bracing for hurricane

BUXTON, N.C. (AP) — Father Fred Smuda says his church rectory on North Carolina's Outer Banks is on stilts and built to sway in hurricane winds.

Smuda is pastor of Our Lady of the Seas Catholic Church, two miles from the Cape Hatteras lighthouse. The lighthouse is on the southeast tip of Hatteras Island, which Dare County officials placed under a mandatory evacuation order as Tropical Storm Arthur approached hurricane strength Wednesday.

The National Hurricane Center has issued a hurricane warning for Dare County and much of the North Carolina coast.

Dare County officials say residents and out-of-town visitors who may already have arrived for the Fourth of July weekend should evacuate during daylight hours on Thursday.

Late Wednesday, Smuda said the barrier island's only highway was already packed with vacationers trying to escape the storm's expected high winds and seas.

The priest says his parishioners are "a very praying community," but would welcome the prayers of others too.

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231-a-08-(Father Fred Smuda (SMOO'-dah), pastor of Our Lady of the Seas Catholic Church, in AP interview)-"around like crazy"-Father Fred Smuda, pastor of Our Lady of the Seas Catholic Church, says no hurricane has hit Cape Hatteras since he became pastor last year. (2 Jul 2014)

<<CUT *231 (07/02/14)££ 00:08 "around like crazy"

232-a-09-(Father Fred Smuda (SMOO'-dah), pastor of Our Lady of the Seas Catholic Church, in AP interview)-"two miles away"-Father Fred Smuda, pastor of Our Lady of the Seas Catholic Church, says the highway is packed with vacationers leaving Cape Hatteras. (2 Jul 2014)

<<CUT *232 (07/02/14)££ 00:09 "two miles away"

234-a-11-(Father Fred Smuda (SMOO'-dah), pastor of Our Lady of the Seas Catholic Church, in AP interview)-"with the wind"-Father Fred Smuda, pastor of Our Lady of the Seas Catholic Church, says the church rectory where he lives is on stilts 15 feet above the ground. (2 Jul 2014)

<<CUT *234 (07/02/14)££ 00:11 "with the wind"

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