With this morning’s forecast showing Hurricane Florence only hours away and powerful winds set to reach North Carolina beaches and sounds tomorrow morning, Governor Roy Cooper urged residents to complete preparations and obey local authorities regarding evacuations.
“North Carolina, my message is clear: Disaster is at the doorstep, and it’s coming in,” said Governor Roy Cooper. “If you’re on the coast, there is still time to get to safety. No possession is worth your life.”
“For those not under evacuation orders, finish your preparations today,” he said. “Move to safety if your home is at risk. Bring in supplies if not. Plan to be without power for days."
Timing of Impact
No matter where Hurricane Florence comes ashore, it will have widespread, significant impacts on North Carolina, emergency officials said.
The coast will feel the first blasts tomorrow morning, with damaging, life-threatening surge, winds and rain. The forecast calls for storm surge higher than many homes. Violent winds that can blow down power lines and trees are expected, along with heavy, sustained rain that can flood rivers and low-lying ground.
“Expect this storm to batter our state for days,” Cooper said.
Floodplain experts at NC Emergency Management have been modeling the storm’s projected impacts. From storm surge alone, tens of thousands of structures are expected to be flooded. The state is sharing that information with local officials so they can prepare.
Central North Carolina will feel the impact of the storm from Thursday night through the weekend due to sustained rainfall and persistent wind that are expected to cause flooding. Anticipated power outages could last for days or weeks.
Western North Carolina residents should prepare for heavy rain, which can trigger mudslides and road closings similar to those experienced earlier this year.
“In short, every county and every person in North Carolina needs to stay alert and take this storm seriously,” Cooper said.
Evacuation of North Carolina’s Barrier Islands
Yesterday, Cooper ordered a state evacuation of North Carolina’s barrier islands from the Virginia line to the South Carolina line. Many local governments have issued evacuation orders for other areas.
Cooper encouraged those not under evacuation orders to complete preparations and gather emergency supplies -- food, water, flashlights, extra batteries, medications, important documents, and other items that may be needed to evacuate quickly. Click here for a checklist of emergency kit supplies.
Remember to make plans for your pets if you need to evacuate.
More Shelters Opening Today
Shelters began opening yesterday, with more opening today to take in people displaced by evacuations. Shelter locations are listed at ncdps.gov/florence and, once open, will be listed on the Ready NC app. The mobile app will provide an address, capacity information and indicate if pets are accepted at that facility.
Shelters are open in Alamance, Beaufort, Cumberland, Franklin, Halifax, Lee, Nash, New Hanover, Wake and Scotland counties. More shelters plan to open today in Bertie, Bladen, Chatham, Johnston, Moore, Sampson counties, with additional shelter openings expected.
2-1-1 Call Line Open 24/7 for People in Need of Help
The statewide information line can provide callers with nearby shelter, housing and other storm-related details. Dial 2-1-1 or 888-892-1162. The information line is staffed around the clock to connect North Carolinians to storm resources.
Fuel Shortages Are Temporary, Price Gouging Law Is in Effect
State officials say there is ample fuel supply in the state, but that there may be temporary shortages in some locations as people fill up their vehicles to evacuate.
North Carolina’s price gouging law is in effect under the state of emergency declared by Gov. Cooper, outlawing excessive prices during a disaster. Potential price gouging should be reported to the NC Attorney General’s Office by calling 1-877-5-NO-SCAM or by filing a complaint online at ncdoj.gov/pricegougingcomplaint.
National Guard Soldiers Reporting for Duty
Governor Cooper authorized additional North Carolina National Guard soldiers to report for duty. By 7 p.m. today, at least 2,800 National Guard soldiers will be activated to preserve life and safety, provide route clearance of roads, and support communications and logistics.
Long-term care facilities are encouraged to work with their local emergency management officials to implement their emergency plans and make appropriate decisions to ensure patient and resident safety.
State Parks, Museums, Universities and Attractions Closed for Safety
State parks and museums are closed today. For the full list of DNCR closings, visit the DNCR website. All state universities but Western Carolina University have canceled classes, and many public schools are closing as well and providing their buildings as shelters.
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 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.