Tropical Storm Michael that hit the Florida panhandle as a Category 4 hurricane and weaken before making an approach to North Carolina did not make a big impact on local businesses. 

Thursday at the Big Blue Store on McLewean Street it was just another normal day as Michael’s track veered a little more to the west overnight and forecasts downgraded the amount of rain expected for Eastern North Carolina. 

Gary Jones, store manager, said the store, known for selling generators before major storms, only sold a couple Wednesday and the purchases were not storm related. 

“It weren’t like Florence,” Jones said. “It was chaos then. It’s just normal, every day business.” 

On Sept. 13, as Hurricane Florence was making its way into Eastern North Carolina, Russell Hartley, a manager at Big Blue, said the store had already sold 600 Champion generators in a two-week period. 

Jones said everyone was watching the news closely as Hurricane Michael made its way inland. The store had plenty of inventory. But they could see the storm wasn’t going to be anything like Florence that dumped 16 inches of rain on Lenoir County and caused devastating flooding and damage throughout Eastern North Carolina.

“The news was saying 50 mile-per-hour winds (gusting) and we heard 1 to 4 inches of rain,” Jones said. “So it’s just a normal day. It ain’t like there are droves of people here.” 

Across town at Lowes of Kinston it was the same story. 

Keshonnia Miller, assistant manager of Lowes, said that store was also experiencing a normal work day other than a few internet orders for generators. 

“We don’t have a lot of people in here getting a lot of stuff,” Miller said. “It’s nothing like Florence. We had them lined up from one door to another. People were outside at 5 a.m. before we opened.” 

Jones said it was still early and business might pickup, but she wasn’t convincing. 

“Right now it’s a normal work day,” she said. “We don’t have a rush. We don’t have anything going on really. It might pick up later. But there’s not a lot going on.” 

The latest forecast from the National Weather Service for Tropical Storm Michael showed only a slight potential for flash flooding across inland portions of Eastern North Carolina.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), there is a tornado watch for most of North Carolina and Virginia until 9 p.m. Thursday.

Rainfall from the storm is not expected to cause widespread issues. But there is still a chance of minor river flooding later this weekend or early next week from the Neuse River in Kinston and the Tar River in Greenville, according to the National Weather Service.