Northampton activates storm shelters

Published 3:10 pm Friday, August 26, 2011

JACKSON — Officials here have declared a state of emergency for Northampton County and two local shelters are preparing to open Friday evening.

According to a press release issued by the county at noon Friday, Fannie P. Greene, Chairwoman of the Northampton County Board of Commissioners, issued a declaration of a state of emergency within the territorial jurisdiction of the county.

The declaration is in anticipation from potentially severe weather caused by Hurricane Irene. Current predictions are that outer bands of rain and increasing winds resulting from Hurricane Irene will impact Northampton County around midnight Friday.

Officials anticipate the greatest impacts from Hurricane Irene will be experienced in Northampton County beginning early morning Saturday and continuing through the day. Sustained winds ranging from 39-58 miles per hour with gusts of 60 miles per hour are anticipated, with rainfall of four to seven inches expected.  Rainfall may be heavier locally.

The Northampton County Emergency Operations Center advises county residents to make immediate preparations for potentially severe weather resulting from the storm. It is advised that residents living in low-lying areas subject to flooding and those living in mobile homes susceptible to wind damage seek shelter in more substantial structures. Senior citizens, those with small children and those who have special care needs should consider relocating to a secure location.

The declaration of a state of emergency places all Northampton County employees and resources on alert status and available for emergency response.  County residents are encouraged to minimize travel and make other preparations to ensure their personal safety and that of their families.

Two shelters (Conway Middle School and Northampton County High School-West) have been activated for area residents. They will open at 7 p.m. Friday.

Conway Middle School is located on US-158 in Conway and at Northampton County High School-West in Gaston.

Those relocating to the public shelters should bring with them medicines (medicines requiring refrigeration should be ice-packed); toiletries, washcloths and personal hygiene items, non-perishable food and beverages that do not require heating or refrigeration, bedding (blanket, sheet, pillow, cot, air mattress), clothing, a couple of large plastic trash bags and flashlights.

No alcoholic beverages or pets will be allowed on the grounds of the shelters.

Northampton County does not anticipate providing meals for those relocating to these shelters, particularly for Friday. Those relocating to these shelters should partake in their evening meal prior to arriving at the shelter.