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Owen Aylesworth described the scene outside of his Wilmington, North Carolina home late Friday morning as "pretty ugly."

Hurricane Florence dealt her wrath to the near-coastal community early Friday.

Aylesworth, a Hebron native and son of State Rep. Michael Aylesworth, said he slept well Thursday night, until he was awakened by his dog at 5:30 a.m., Eastern, with a nudge of the nose.

About a half hour later, his power went out. Within another half hour major wind gusts, sweeping through at 105 mph, began.

"That's when the trees started snapping," said Aylesworth, noting that a 40-foot pine in his back yard snapped in two under the strength of the wind, leaving nothing but a 10-foot stub and debris resembling toothpicks.

He hasn't had much time to survey his neighborhood. Except for going to the neighbor's home for a cup of coffee as the eye passed over Friday morning, he has not been outside.

Rated a Category 1 when it hit Wilmington, Aylesworth said Florence came in a little harder than most Category 1 hurricanes they have experienced in his community.

By noon in Wilmington, Aylesworth said it was still raining, but the winds had died to about 40 mph with 60 mph gusts.

"Now it is more like a tropical storm. I feel like the brunt of it has passed," said Aylesworth, adding the winds and the rain will gradually stop, but the region will deal with flooding issues and power outages for days and weeks.

Aylewsworth's wife and three children had gone inland earlier in the week to avoid the hurricane.

Aylesworth said he has a generator, which is powering his lights, the refrigerator and a fan.

"I think the power will be out for a long time," he said, adding he will be spending at least part of that time catching up on his reading.

About two hours away, near Raleigh, North Carolina, EMTs Luis Ortega and Maggie Martinez are still waiting to be deployed.

The two work for InHealth Integrated Care. The company has a partnership with the Federal Emergency Management Agency to provide ambulances and crews in response to Florence. Ortega, of Hammond, and Martinez, of Highland, left early Wednesday morning and made the 13-hour drive to a parking lot they are sharing with other emergency medical services crews.

Ortega said the weather there early Friday afternoon was a bit more windy and "raining a little harder." They are briefed every 12 hours, but, so far, no one has been given any assignments.

The waiting time, he said, has allowed them to meet crews from as far as California, Florida, Texas and Georgia.

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Porter County Reporter

Joyce has been a reporter for nearly 40 years, including 23 years with The Times. She's a native of Merrillville, but has lived in Portage for 39 years. She covers municipal and school government in Porter County.