North Carolina Readies for Tropical Storm Isaias Gov. Cooper’s request for federal disaster declaration approved

Raleigh

Tropical Storm Isaias is moving northward along the Florida coast and has North Carolina in its path with threats of heavy rainfall, storm surge, damaging winds, isolated tornadoes, and dangerous rip currents. These conditions could cause power outages and road closures across portions of central and eastern North Carolina through Tuesday. 

“Although the storm has been downgraded from a hurricane, Isaias still poses great threats to our state,” said Gov. Roy Cooper. “North Carolinians should prepare for flooding, storm surge, power outages and the dangers associated with them.”

According to the National Hurricane Center, Isaias is expected to begin impacting North Carolina on Monday night through early Tuesday morning with all hazards in play. Because of this, it is important for people to have a way to receive weather alerts overnight.

Isaias could bring 1-4” of rain, with a swath of 3-6” of rain possible along and near the I-95 corridor and as much as 7” in some places. Rainfall amounts could lead to areas of flash flooding and minor to moderate river flooding.

Below is a list of watches and warnings that have been issued for the state. People should also be aware of lingering flood conditions in low-lying areas and river basins that could flood once the storm passes through.

  • Tropical Storm Watch – northward to Ocracoke Island
  • Tropical Storm Warning – areas south of Ocracoke Island
  • Storm Surge Watch — southward to Duck
  • Hurricane Watch — areas south of Surf City
  • Storm Surge Warning – southward to Cape Fear
  • Flash Flood Watch – much of North Carolina through Tuesday

Governor Cooper’s request for a federal emergency declaration for 25 North Carolina counties was approved, which authorizes federal assistance for storm response. On Friday, Gov. Cooper declared a state of emergency, which helps state and local officials take extra precautions to protect the public and allows the state to seek federal disaster aid. 

As of Sunday afternoon, local officials have ordered evacuations for Hatteras and Ocracoke Islands, Ocean Isle Beach, Holden Beach and Caswell Beach. Details on evacuations are available on the ReadyNC website.

North Carolinians are urged to follow evacuation orders by local officials. The weather threats posed by Isaias are greater than the risk of contracting COVID-19 at a shelter. Shelters staff are taking extra precautions to prepare shelters for evacuees. 

For those who are ordered to evacuate, Emergency Management is recommending the following:

  • Stay with friends and family as a first option.
  • Go to a motel or hotel, if possible.
  • If you cannot stay with family or friends, or at a hotel, visit your county government website and social media channels for sheltering instructions for your county.

Shelters will be available, but will operate differently as the state seeks to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. People seeking shelter will be screened for COVID-19 symptoms. If they have symptoms, they will be redirected to non-congregate sheltering options where they can more easily isolate. People using shelters can expect other changes, including:

  • Social distancing, which will mean shelters can house fewer residents, so more facilities and volunteers may be used across the state. 
  • Face coverings will be required.
  • Be prepared to bring your own bedding and care items.
  • Meals will be served in sealed containers, rather than in serving lines as before.

North Carolina ferries have evacuated more than 3,300 passengers toll-free and more than 1,500 vehicles from Ocracoke Island through noon Sunday. Evacuations will continue through Monday mid-morning. 

Across the state, more than 1,800 Department of Transportation employees are on standby with more than 1,500 pieces of equipment and more than 1,000 chainsaws. The department is preparing to respond to downed trees and localized flooding that may temporarily close roadways. 

People can get real-time traffic and road conditions, including about any closures, at DriveNC.gov or by calling 511.

Gov. Cooper also authorized the activation of up to 150 members of the North Carolina National Guard to be used if needed in hurricane response, and water rescue teams are preparing to respond if they are needed.

It’s not too late to prepare your emergency kit. Instructions on what to include in a family emergency kit are available at ReadyNC.org. This year be sure to add additional items like face coverings, hand sanitizer and cleaning products to stay healthy during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Department of Public Safety has launched a new webpage to help people stay safe and informed as they prepare for Hurricane Isaias. The Hurricane Isaias 2020 webpage is a one-stop source for up-to-date storm information, including power outages, evacuation orders and emergency shelters. The website can be found at ncdps.gov/isaias

North Carolina has recently introduced coastal evacuation zones in 20 coastal counties with the Know Your Zone program. For more information and to learn if you are in a zone, visit knowyourzone.nc.gov.

Resources for Spanish-speaking communities:

Know Your Zone

Know Your Zone Video

Prepare an Emergency Kit

ReadyNC

Hurricane Guide

 

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