((JAMES WITT: IF YOU'RE IN A LOW-LYING AREA AND YOU HAVEN'T EVACUATED YET, TAKE HEED AND DO SO."))
[OUT=AND DO SO.]
[11NEWSPATH NA071- Hatteras Evacuations ]
They're headed out of the coastal Carolinas as Hurricane Floyd surges toward a strike within the next 11 to 17 hours.
And Central Virginia could see the bad-side of Floyd and the region is preparing.
News 7 at noon is next.
[ROLL COLD OUT OF OPEN]
Floyd is closing in on the Carolinas forcing thousands to flee the North and South Carolina coasts.
But it may not hit our part of Virginia as hard as once thought.
Good afternoon, I'm Melanie Moon.
Let's go right to Patrick Evans for the latest on the rapidly changing forecast.
[Patrick in Chorma Key]
(toss back to Melanie)
They may not be rolling out the welcome mat for Hurricane Floyd, but Lynchburg officials say they are well- prepared for his arrival.
Authorities held a briefing this morning to talk about the city's storm preparations.
While it appears Floyd won't hit central Virginia head-on, there's still a possibility for damage from high winds and flooding.
Police chief Charles Bennett says the key is preparation, not panic.
(///// SOT /////)
[IN Q=That's really not]
((CHARLES BENNETT/POLICE CHIEF: THAT'S REALLY NOT NECESSARY.. WE WANT PEOPLE TO REMAIN CALM, TO DO THOSE SORTS OF THINGS THAT ARE REASONABLE IN PREPARATION BUT WE'LL CONTINUE TO GIVE YOU UPDATES.))
[SUPER=01-Col. Charles Bennett/Lynchburg Police Chief]
[OUT Q=give you updates.]
American Electric Power says it has crews on standby in the event of major power outages.
Lynchburg's Salvation Army also is open and can handle up to 250 residents who may be forced from their homes.
And the school system is waiting for more information before deciding whether to cancel classes for tomorrow.
One school in the viewing area has decided to cancel classes.
[TAKE Schoolwatch Board]
Pittsylvania County schools will close at 1:30 this afternoon.
Schools there will also be closed tomorrow.
Other parts of the commonwealth are also taking the storm seriously.
The port of Hampton Roads has been closed to incoming vessels.
In Norfolk, the navy is moving its ships to safer harbors or far out to sea.
[SS=VA Death Penalty]
A Virginia death row inmate may still get clemency from Governor Gilmore, but he won't get a reprieve from Floyd.
Virginia is set to execute Everret Lee Mueller tomorrow night at the Greensville Correctional Center in Jarratt.
That's about the time Hurricane Floyd is projected to be hitting the area.
But a spokesman for the Department of Corrections says Floyd will not delay the execution.
The prison has its own power source and there are contingency plans to get the necessary six witnesses in place.
North Carolina's Outer Banks are being evacuated this afternoon as Hurricane Floyd approaches.
Residents in the barrier islands outside Wilmington are also evacuating.
Meantime, Floridians are breathing a sigh of relief after they were spared the full force of the storm.
Maureen Maher has the latest from Charleston, South Carolina.
(///// SOT /////)
[SUPER=01-Gov. Jim Hodges/South Carolina;]
[SUPER=03-St. Augustine, FL;]
[OUT Q=cbs news charleston, SC]
(((LOCATOR: CHARLESTON, SC)
RESIDENTS ALONG THE SOUTHEASTERN COAST ARE STILL WAITING FOR HURRICANE
FLOYD TO UNLEASH HIS MASSIVE STRENGTH. BUT SOME PEOPLE COULD GET A TASTE OF HIS FURY TODAY IN PLACES LIKE CHARLESTON, SOUTH CAROLINA AND SAVANNAH, GEORGIA.
MOS SOT:NO NAME
"THE WAY THEY ARE TALKING ABOUT IT, I JUST DON'T WANT TO TAKE ANY CHANCES, IT SEEMS PRETTY BAD AND I JUST DON'T WANT TO BE HERE WHEN IT HITS."
FLOYD IS NOT EXPECTED TO MAKE LANDFALL JUST YET, IF AT ALL...BUT FORECASTERS SAY THE ENORMOUS STORM IS CLOSE ENOUGH TO THE COAST TO INFLICT MAJOR DAMAGE.
SOT: GOV. JIM HODGES.SOUTH CAROLINA
"IT'S A BIG OLD NASTY STORM AS WAS SAID EARLIER AND DAMAGE COULD OCCUR NOT ONLY ON THE COAST, BUT WELL INLAND IN OUR STATE."
NO MATTER HOW MUCH DAMAGE FLOYD LEAVES BEHIND, THE STORM WILL ALREADY BE
REMEMBERED AS ONE THAT SPARKED ONE OF THE BIGGEST EVACUATIONS IN U-S HISTORY.
SOME TWO MILLION PEOPLE HAVE BEEN ASKED TO FLEE COASTAL AREAS. CLOGGED
HIGHWAYS.. EVEN FORCED THE UNPRECEDENTED REVERSAL OF TRAFFIC ON I-26 IN
(LOCATOR: ST. AUGUSTINE, FL)
IN FLORIDA RESIDENTS ARE BREATHING A SIGH OF RELIEF TODAY. FLOYD LEVELED SOME TREES AND CAUSED POWER OUTAGES FOR OVER 100 THOUSAND PEOPLE...BUT FOR THE MOST PART... THE STATE ESCAPED THE WIDESPREAD DESTRUCTION LEFT BY PREVIOUS HURRICANES.
Hurricane Floyd has left its mark on the Bahamas.
The brunt of the storm passed over the islands late last night.
In Nassau, trees block main highways and two barges were washed ashore.
The powerful winds toppled power lines, ripped roofs off of homes, and pushed the sea into the streets.
So far there are no reports of fatalities but officials several people were injured.
The extent of the damage elsewhere isn't known because Floyd knocked out phone lines.
President Clinton has cut short his trip to New Zealand to oversee emergency efforts in the wake of the storm.
[SUPER=03-Christchurch, N. Zealand;]
He'll arrive in Hawaii later this afternoon, and is expected to be back in Washington sometime after midnight.
Before leaving New Zealand President Clinton issued
(/// SOT /////)
((CLINTON:THIS MORNING I SIGNED AN EMERGENCY DECLARATION TO PROVIDE FOR EMERGENCY ASSISTANCE...VICE-PRESIDENT AL GORE, FEMA DIRECTOR JAMES LEE WITT ARE WORKING ROUND THE CLOCK TO PREPARE FOR THE STORM...PLEASE REMEMBER MY FELLOW AMERICANS...))
[OUT Q=my fellow Americans.]
Meantime, President Clinton was a no-show at his war crimes trial in Yugoslavia.
The Serb government charged President Clinton and other Western leaders in connection with the 78-day NATO bombing campaign.
A Yugoslav judge postponed the trial when Clinton failed to show up.
[HARD MUSIC UNDER]
The northbound lanes of Interstate 81 are open again in Rockbridge County.
More on that in just a moment on News-7 at Noon.
And the U-N gives the go-ahead for peacekeepers to move into troubled East Timor.
[music up full]
The United Nations Security Council has authorized an international peacekeeping force to move into East Timor.
[SUPER=03-New York, NY/This Morning;]
The council says the troops will use all force needed to rein in anti-independence militias in the Indonesian province.
Australia has offered to lead the force.
Thousands of troops are holding final training exercises near Darwin.
They could be on the ground by this weekend.
Today's U-N vote prompted demonstrations throughout Indonesia, including outside the Australian embassy in Jarkata.
The northbound lanes of Interstate 81 are open in Rockbridge County.
A tractor-trailer accident closed one of the north-bound lanes at mile-marker 195.
That's near the northern-most Lexington exit.
There were no serious injuries reported.
Three people were sent to the hospital late last night after an accident on Route 58 near the Henry-Pittsylvania County line.
Deputies say a car trying to make a U-turn pulled into the path of a tractor-trailer.
All three passengers in the car were hospitalized.
There's no word on their conditions or identities.
The truck driver was not hurt and will not be charged.
A Montgomery County jury has found Claude Love guilty of felony hit and run.
[SUPER=03-Blacksburg/June 7, 1998;]
Love was behind the wheel last summer when his truck hit and killed two men on a motorcycle in Blacksburg.
Prosecutors argued that Love's truck was on the wrong side of the road when he collided with 21- year old Michael Perry and 21-year old Michael Dove.
After listening to the evidence, Judge Ray Grubbs DISMISSED both counts of involuntary manslaughter YESTERDAY saying the accident was tragic but that Love's actions that evening do not add up to criminal negligence.
The jury deliberated parts of yesterday afternoon and this morning before finding Love guilty of leaving the scene of the accident.
It is still deliberating his sentence.
Love faces a maximum of five years in prison.
The trial of a Roanoke man accused of killing his roommate, then setting the place on fire continues today.
[SUPER=03-Roanoke/October 17, 1997]
David Lee Griffin is charged with murder and arson, though the defense theorizes the victim set the fire himself.
James Cline supposedly told others before he died that he could set off a bomb that might take his own life.
The prosecution says Cline was beaten and stomped to death before the fire started.
The Virginia Supreme Court will rule in November on whether to grant convicted killer Ben Lilly a new trial.
Lilly's attorney talked to his client yesterday, after arguing his case before the Court.
Christopher Tuck told the court that incriminating statements made by MARK Lilly at his brother's trial should not have been allowed in evidence.
The Attorney General's office said admitting the statement was an honest mistake.
Lilly was sentenced to die for the murder of a Virginia Tech student four years ago.
The debate is over and a final water contract between Roanoke County and City has been presented to County Supervisors.
After months of dispute over the cost and amount of water that will be provided -- an agreement was reached.
It allows the county to sell up to 4 million gallons a day, it will cost the city 2 dollars 75 cents per thousand gallons.
The county is pleased with the contract because it will save money.
(///// SOT /////)
[IN Q=The county]
((GARY ROBERTSON/UTILITY DIRECTOR: THE COUNTY WOULD NO LONGER BE REQUIRED TO BUY WATER FROM ROANOKE CITY, TWO BOTH COUNTY AND CITY COULD PURCHASE WATER WITH AN EQUAL RATE FOR BOTH PARTIES.))
[SUPER=01-Gary Robertson/Utility Director]
[OUT Q=for both parties.]
The county will not see the savings until July of 2000.
The contract will be presented to Roanoke City Council on September 28th.
[SOFT MUSIC UNDER]
Still ahead we'll check with Patrick for the latest movement of Hurricane Floyd.
And new images from NASA show that the "ozone hole" is once again emerging over Antarctica.
It's all still ahead on News 7 at noon.
[MUSIC UP FULL]
[COMM BREAK #2]
Lynchburg city council potponed a vote on a controversial development.
The plot of land straddles the Lynchburg-Bedford County border and is one of the more scenic entrances into the city of Lynchburg, .
But, a developer is hoping to transform the area with a gas station, car wash, and strip mall.
Before construction can begin for Workman Oil, city council has to approve a proposed storm water retention pond.
((RAYNOR SNEAD/ATTORNEY FOR DEVELOPER: GENTLEMAN, THIS IS A GOOD PROJECT.. IT IS WELL- DESIGNED, IT IS WELL THOUGHT OUT, IT IS COMPREHENSIVE, IT IS COHESIVE. SOMETHING IS GOING TO BE DEVELOPED ON THAT SITE.))
[SUPER=01-Raynor Snead/Attorney For Developer]
[OUT Q=on that site.]
But neighbors have gathered more than 600 signatures opposing the project.
They're concerned about increased traffic from the stores, and that the storm water retention pond will NOT do enough to protect neighboring properties from pollution.
Both sides have agreed to work together to try and resolve their differences.. and city council will take up the matter again in two weeks.
New images from NASA show that the "ozone hole" is once again emerging over Antarctica.
Scientists are closely monitoring ozone levels in Antarctica after observing record low levels of ozone in 19-98.
The Antarctic "ozone hole" develops each hear between late August and early October.
The latest images show that the region of depleted ozone is more than 9 million square miles this year.
On Wall Street at Noon, the Dow was UP three points.
[SPORTS MUSIC UNDER]
Still ahead in sports, Ferrum College is mourning the death of one of it's basketball players...
And Dallas defensive tackle Leon Lett faces yet another drug suspension.
Patrick will have the details next.
[MUSIC UP FULL]
[COMM BREAK #3]
[TAPE#=SP-38 tc 2:00:39]
Ferrum College is mourning the death of a basketball player.
19 year old Brian L. Reed collapsed while working out in the weight room and was taken to Roanoke Memorial Hospital.
Doctors say a brain aneurysm caused the collapse.
He was taken off life support and died yesterday.
Reed, a computer science major, was from Virginia Beach.
[SUPER=04-FFE File Tape;]
And former Salem football star Jeff Akers, number 88, has decided to end his football career.
Akers is now a red shirt sophomore linebacker at VMI. He suffered a concussion during Saturday's game.
This injury combined with a history of head injuries has prompted Akers to stop playing football.
He will serve as a student coach for the remainder of the season.
One of the best running backs in the N-F-L wants to return to the field, but not with the Detroit Lions.
Retired running back Barry Sanders is interested in returning to the NFL.
He says he will return the more than five million dollar signing bonus if the Lions will release or trade him this season.
Dallas defensive tackle Leon Lett is suspended until the November 14th game against Green Bay.
The two time pro bowler has been suspended for his fifth violation of the NFL's substance abuse policy.