Governor Roy Cooper today asked for a federal disaster declaration on behalf of North Carolina to ensure the state can get federal aid as soon as possible.
In a letter sent this morning to President Donald Trump, Gov. Cooper made the request for federal help due to Hurricane Florence which is forecast to hit the state as an unprecedented hurricane later this week.
With the latest forecast showing Florence bearing down on North Carolina and intensifying in strength, Governor Cooper today urged North Carolina residents, businesses and visitors to take the threat posed by Hurricane Florence seriously, plan accordingly and get ready now.
“The forecast places North Carolina in the bull's eye of Hurricane Florence, and the storm is rapidly getting stronger,” Governor Cooper said. “When weather forecasters tell us “life threatening,” we know it’s serious. We are bracing for a hard hit.”
As the forecast becomes clearer, Florence poses three challenges: coastal storm surge, strong winds and inland flooding that inundates rivers and low-lying ground, Cooper said.
Florence is a rapidly strengthening hurricane that may make landfall between Southport and Wilmington as early as sometime Friday morning. Tropical storm level winds may be felt as early as Wednesday. The forecast shows the potential for very heavy rainfall across much of North Carolina.
“Florence is a threat well beyond the coast, so inland counties need to be ready as well,” Gov. Cooper said.
State officials continue to prepare for potential impacts from a major hurricane later this week:
- North Carolina remains under a State of Emergency, declared by Gov. Cooper Friday. The governor also temporarily waived certain restrictions for trucks and heavy vehicles to help farmers harvest and move crops and livestock ahead of the storm and help utilities and other equipment be ready to respond if needed.
- North Carolina Emergency Management experts are working today to place resources ahead of the storm. The State Emergency Operations Center was activated Monday at 1:00 PM, 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.
“We are working closely with the National Hurricane Center and FEMA and our other partners and leveraging that wealth of experience to ensure we can respond to any need,” state Emergency Management Director Mike Sprayberry said. “We are also working closely with our county and SERT partners to ensure all resource requests are met. We ask the public to stay tuned to local forecasts and follow instructions from your local emergency officials and to have a plan for yourself and your family members, including your pets.”
North Carolinians are urged to use the next couple of days to get ready for the storm, including reviewing emergency plans and gathering supplies.
Tips for Emergency Plans and Supplies Kit:
- 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.
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.