Oct 4, 2016
Governor Pat McCrory is urging North Carolinians throughout the central and eastern part of the state to gather emergency supplies, discuss emergency plans and carefully monitor local news stations to prepare for Hurricane Matthew. The latest forecast calls for Hurricane Matthew to skim along the Atlantic coastline before making landfall near the North and South Carolina border early Saturday morning.
“With each subsequent forecast, the impacts to our state appear to be more substantial,” cautioned Governor McCrory. “I cannot stress enough how critical it is that all of our residents in central and eastern North Carolina begin preparations for their families and homes. For those residents in the eastern parts of the state, it is especially critical that you update your emergency supply kits in case you need to evacuate and always follow the directions of your local emergency officials.”
Currently a Category 4 hurricane, Matthew made landfall along eastern Cuba this morning and is predicted to move northwest through the Bahamas and along Florida’s Atlantic coast during the next few days. From there, the large and powerful storm is expected to shift toward the northeast, hugging the Georgia and South Carolina coast before making landfall in North Carolina sometime Saturday. While the storm is a still a few days away, the major hurricane continues to shift westward, increasing the potential for significant impacts to the state. Emergency officials are preparing for 4 to 8 more inches of rain over the weekend across eastern and central North Carolina along with heavy winds of up to 73 miles per hour beginning Friday.
“Many of our central and eastern counties are already saturated from storms during the past few weeks,” said state Emergency Management Director Mike Sprayberry. “With additional rain and heavy winds in the forecast, we are preparing for additional flooding, downed trees and widespread power outages in the coming days.”
Yesterday, Governor McCrory declared a State of Emergency for 66 eastern and central North Carolina counties to expedite the movement and activation of any resources to help with storm response. He also waived restrictions for truckers on hours of service and weight limits to help farmers harvest their crops, quickly restore power and expedite any debris removal.
The North Carolina Emergency Operations Center (EOC) activated yesterday with staffing support from key state agencies as well as the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The EOC will begin 24-hour operations Thursday morning with additional personnel. State emergency managers and FEMA representatives are coordinating with North Carolina counties and neighboring states on sheltering and evacuation plans should they be needed.
“The North Carolina National Guard (NCNG) will have soldiers on standby ready to provide direct assistance to state and local emergency managers, the highway patrol and first responders,” said Public Safety Secretary Frank L. Perry. “The Guard has high water vehicles and helicopters, and can provide power generation, medical, communication and shelter support, and is capable of transporting supplies if needed.”
The North Carolina State Highway Patrol is also preparing its troopers and equipment. Troopers will be monitoring all major highways and will be assisting the Department of Transportation, county Emergency Management officials and local partners.
Additionally, the Department of Transportation continues to monitor conditions and prepare equipment and crews to respond to Hurricane Matthew. The Department is prepositioning equipment and personnel along the coast and preparing ferry operations to expedite the transportation of residents and visitors off Ocracoke Island and the Outer Banks.
Governor McCrory urges residents to take the following steps to prepare for the storm:
1. Determine if you are in a storm surge zone:
Residents living in storm surge zones may be ordered to evacuate. Evacuation zones will be identified by local emergency managers through the news media. You also should know if your home is located in a flood plain. These areas suffer from heavy rains associated with hurricanes. Visit ncfloodmaps.com to determine if you are in a flood zone.
2. Gather supplies and prepare an emergency kit:
To prepare for a hurricane or any disaster, it is best to have an emergency kit available. This kit should contain nonperishable food, water (one gallon/person/day) and clothing to sustain each family member for three to seven days. The kit should include a flashlight, radio and spare batteries. Blankets, rain gear and appropriate footwear also are recommended. Special considerations must be made for the young or disabled. Remember to include baby food and medicines as appropriate. In addition, the kit should include photo copies of important family documents, such as birth certificates and insurance policies. A complete checklist of items for your emergency kit can be found here.
3. Fuel cars, obtain cash and secure important documents:
Residents should fill their cars with gasoline and have enough cash on hand to last a week in case they are ordered to evacuate. During power-outages, gas stations and ATM machines do not work. It is also important to secure original copies of documents in a waterproof container in case of flooding.
4. Obtain supplies to protect the home:
If residents are ordered to evacuate, there will be little time to protect their homes from the storm. Supplies, such as lumber and shutters, should be purchased now, and window casing pre-drilled. Homeowners should clear their property of all debris that could damage buildings in strong winds. Cars should be stored in the garage.
For more information about how to get ready for a hurricane and what to do during or after a storm, go to ReadyNC.org. You can also get real-time traffic and weather on the ReadyNC mobile app. Follow N.C. Emergency Management on Twitter and Facebook for the latest on Hurricane Matthew.