North Carolina prepares for Hurricane Isaias

PHOTO | NC GOVERNOR’S OFFICE

RALEIGH — Although Hurricane Isaias has slowed its advance, the storm remains a threat to North Carolina for localized flooding, dangerous rip currents, power outages and road closures. 

“We all need to be prepared for the dangers that Isaias could bring,” said Governor Roy Cooper. “As we learned with Hurricane Florence, even a category one storm can bring severe impacts, and we should not take this lightly.”

According to the National Hurricane Center, Isaias should begin impacting North Carolina on Monday. However, dangerous rip currents are already occurring along the coastline now. 

While the path of the storm’s center remains uncertain, state and local officials are preparing for impacts in Eastern North Carolina with sustained winds of 70 mph on Monday, particularly affecting communities along Interstate 95 and eastward. 

As of mid-day Saturday, local officials had ordered evacuations for Hatteras and Ocracoke Islands, Ocean Isle Beach and Holden Beach. Details on evacuations are available on the ReadyNC website.

Governor Cooper also authorized the activation of up to 150 members of the North Carolina National Guard to be used if needed in hurricane response, and water rescue teams are preparing to respond if they are needed.

“The National Guard, Emergency Management and State Highway Patrol are ready to respond where needed,” said state Public Safety Secretary Erik A. Hooks. “We are also coordinating with our partners at the Department of Transportation who are positioning for storm response.” 

“North Carolina will feel impacts from this storm,” said NC Emergency Management director Mike Sprayberry. “No one should take this lightly. We have learned from past storms that they can be unpredictable and take a sudden turn for the worse, so now is the time to be prepared with a plan and an emergency kit.”

Instructions on what to include in a family emergency kit are available at ReadyNC.org. This year be sure to add additional items like face coverings, hand sanitizer and cleaning products to stay healthy during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The N.C. Department of Public Safety has launched a new webpage to help people stay safe and informed as they prepare for Hurricane Isaias. The Hurricane Isaias 2020 webpage is a one-stop source for up-to-date storm information, including power outages, evacuation orders and emergency shelters. The website can be found at ncdps.gov/Isaias.

On Friday, Governor Roy Cooper declared a state of emergency, which helps state and local officials take extra precautions to protect the public. In a letter on Friday, Governor Cooper also requested that President Trump declare an emergency for the State of North Carolina under the Stafford Act, which would allow for direct federal assistance for emergency preparations.

Cooper said people should heed any local evacuation orders as the state implements new safeguards amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The governor is recommending the following for those who must evacuate their community for safety:

  • Stay with friends and family as a first option.
  • Go to a motel or hotel, if possible.

Shelters will be available for others, but will operate differently as the state seeks to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. People seeking shelter will be screened for COVID-19 symptoms. If they have symptoms, they will be redirected to non-congregate sheltering options where they can more easily isolate. People using shelters can expect other changes, including:

  • Social distancing, which will mean shelters can house fewer residents, so more facilities and volunteers may be used across the state. 
  • Face coverings will be required.
  • Be prepared to bring your own bedding and care items.
  • Meals will be served in sealed containers, rather than in serving lines as before.

North Carolina has recently introduced coastal evacuation zones in 20 coastal counties with the Know Your Zone program. For more information and to learn if you are in a zone, visit knowyourzone.nc.gov.

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