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Southeast prepares for Hanna's arrival

A couple watch waves crash at Tybee Island, Ga. Hurricane Hanna poses a threat to the tiny resort island, jutting out from the Georgia coast into the Atlantic Ocean.

TEXT OF INTERVIEW

KAI RYSSDAL: The hurricane watch has shifted away from the Gulf Coast this week. Folks in Florida, Georgia and up to the Carolinas are preparing for possible evacuations as tropical storm Hanna approaches.

And it is not good news for the many businesses that rely on late-summer tourism. Earlier today we called David Harper at the Rhett art gallery in Beaufort, S.C., just south of Charleston, to see what kinds of emergency plans they have in place.

DAVID HARPER: All the original prints we would move to a location about 60 or 70 miles away. We're, of course, insured. So, you know, we're pretty much squared away as to what we would do, if the storm hit here.

RYSSDAL: What kind of business do you do on an average September afternoon?

HARPER: We probably do about $1,500 a day.

RYSSDAL: What's it been like for you this week as the storm approaches?

HARPER: About $70 a day.

RYSSDAL: Bad weather is not always bad news, though. We've reached Todd Strattman in Holden Beach, N.C. He owns a construction firm there. Todd, thanks for talking with us.

STRATTMAN: Yes sir.

RYSSDAL: What's this storm going to mean for you, businesswise?

STRATTMAN: It'll be good, if it's a bad storm because we'll get work.

RYSSDAL: What kind of work is that going to be?

STRATTMAN: Basically, fixing roofs and siding and stuff like that, that get's blown down.

RYSSDAL: What about as this storm gets ready. Are you the kind of person that people would call and say, "Listen, I need you to help me tarp down the roof, or board up my windows?"

STRATTMAN: Yeah, there'll be a lot of people calling and having us go check out their houses ahead of hand, just to make sure everything's buttoned up before the storm.

RYSSDAL: Now, is that people who actually live there or are you dealing with mostly rental properties?

STRATTMAN: About half and half. We have a pretty strong customer base of, you know, people we've been working for for years. Half of them live here. Some of them are out of town.

RYSSDAL: You're laying in supplies, I guess, to get ready to do this -- all kinds of things from construction gear to tarpaulins and stuff. How much money are you shelling out to get ready to do this business before the storm?

STRATTMAN: Uh, probably somewhere around $500.

RYSSDAL: That's not bad.

STRATTMAN: Yeah, that's just for taking care of stuff temporarily until you can really dig in and do the repairs to stop the rain so you're not getting penalized by the insurance companies.

RYSSDAL: Tell me about the insurance company rules for getting things sort of in order after a storm.

STRATTMAN: After the storm -- I think it depends on the insurance company -- but it's something about, like 36 hours or 72 hours that you have to have your roof basically tarped off so that no more damage can be done to the house, or the insurance company won't cover the damage that you originally got.

RYSSDAL: Yeah, so you've got some time pressure here, too, huh?

STRATTMAN: Oh, yes. That's why we had the people calling immediately trying to get first on the list so that their damage can be taken care of first, or at least taken care of for the insurance company.

RYSSDAL: Now, being in the business that you're in, I imagine it's not possible for you to evacuate and get out of the way?

STRATTMAN: I might have the family do it. And I might just go somewhere temporarily around the area, just so I can get back to work real quick. But if it's a really bad one, you know, the family . . . we'll get them out of town.

RYSSDAL: Yeah, Todd Strattman, from Homestretch Construction in Holden Beach, N.C. Todd, thanks a lot.

STRATTMAN: Thank you.

About the author

Kai Ryssdal is the host and senior editor of Marketplace, public radio’s program on business and the economy.
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