Gov. Cooper orders coastal evacuation ahead of life-threatening hurricane
RALEIGH – With powerful and dangerous Hurricane Florence zeroing in on North Carolina, Governor Roy Cooper today issued a mandatory state evacuation order for vulnerable coastal areas. The state order is in addition to local evacuation orders already in place in most coastal communities.
The storm is expected to make landfall in eastern North Carolina with strong winds, high storm surge and heavy rains arriving on Thursday. The entire state should brace for impacts from Florence, and people asked to evacuate should get out now.
“The waves and wind in this storm may be like nothing you have ever seen,” Gov. Cooper said. “Even if you’ve ridden out storms before, this one is different. Don’t bet your life on riding out this monster.”
The state evacuation order applies to barrier islands along the entire coast, from the Virginia line to the South Carolina line. Local evacuation orders are in place for many additional areas.
The entire coast of North Carolina is under a hurricane watch and a storm surge watch. Inland areas are already under a tropical storm watch.
Monday night, President Trump granted Cooper’s request for a federal disaster declaration for North Carolina. This will speed federal aid to the state and its residents, including bringing more FEMA representatives and military personnel to the state for preparation and relief efforts.
All parts of the state should prepare for extended rain and wind. The forecast shows Florence stalling over North Carolina, bringing as much as 20 to 30 inches of rain. Rivers and low-lying areas are expected to flood well inland from the coast.
Everyone in North Carolina needs to get ready for the storm, emergency management officials urged.
Prepare to lose power for several days or weeks.
Gather your emergency supply kits with enough bottled water and non-perishable food to sustain each family member for three to seven days.
Include a weather radio, flashlight, extra batteries, toiletries, change of clothes, blankets or sleeping bag, rain gear and appropriate footwear. Also include cell phone charger, prescription medicines, copies of important documents, such as birth certificates and insurance policies.
Know your evacuation route, and find out where friends and loved ones will be and how to get in touch with them.
Plan for your pets. Gather supplies for your pets and put them in an easily-accessible container.
Prepare your home. Clean out gutters and clear property of debris that could damage buildings in strong winds.
Stay tuned to local news for the latest advisories from the National Weather Service and National Hurricane Center (NHC), as well as state and local emergency management officials.
“We can’t expect this storm to blow over in a matter of hours. Remember you need to have enough supplies for several days,” Gov. Cooper urged.
State preparations continue for Hurricane Florence:
North Carolina Emergency Management experts are placing resources ahead of the storm. The State Emergency Operations Center was activated Monday, and NCEM is coordinating with the counties, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and key partners in the State Emergency Response Team which includes all state agencies plus utility representatives, private sector partners and volunteer agencies active during disasters.
Preparations are underway by N.C. Department of Transportation crews in all 100 counties in the state. The department has 2,166 employees ready for what Florence may bring and for the cleanup afterward. Those workers have 1,284 trucks, 1,086 chain saws, 147 front loaders, 219 motor graders, and 202 backhoes at their disposal. In anticipation of likely road closings from floodwater, downed trees and other debris, DOT has 2,877 barricades, 1,488 road closed signs and 2,853 high water signs available.
Shelters in some areas are scheduled to begin opening later today. For the latest information on shelters, visit www.ncdps.gov/florence. As shelters open, they will appear in the ReadyNC app.
2-1-1 operators are available to answer questions about Hurricane Florence resources and connect people with the help they need.
“This is a life-threatening storm and we are coordinating with all our state, local and federal partners along with utilities, volunteer groups and others to prepare and protect the people of North Carolina,” said Emergency Management Director Mike Sprayberry.
The Governor’s Office has activated North Carolina Disaster Relief Fund for donations to support North Carolina’s response to Hurricane Florence. To donate, visit www.rebuild.nc.gov/.
Download the Ready NC app or follow NC Emergency Management on Facebook and Twitter for weather updates and to learn how you can prepare for the storm.