Gov. Pat McCrory has declared a state of emergency in all of the North Carolina’s 100 counties in preparation for severe weather that is expected to bring heavy rain and flooding to the state later this week.
At a news conference Thursday, the governor said past weather systems and the addition of Hurricane Joaquin, could bring dangerous flooding across the state, according to a news release from McCrory’s office.
Joaquin upgraded to a Category 4 hurricane Thursday afternoon as it moves through the Bahamas. Forecasters predict there is a 30 percent chance of landfall off the northern coast of North Carolina early Monday morning, according to the National Weather Service (NWS).
“We’re hoping for the best, but hope is not preparation nor is it a plan,” McCrory said. “I’ve ordered all state agencies to begin preparation for the severe weather, particularly flooding, that is going hit just about every corner of the state during the next few days.”
The governor warned that with the threat of heavy flooding, trees could become a danger given the ground has already been saturated from rains that have fallen across the state over the past week.
The NWS has issued a flood watch for the entire southeastern area, effective beginning 8 p.m. Thursday. This includes Brunswick, New Hanover, Pender, Columbus and Robeson counties.
The N.C. Department of Public Safety is preparing for potentially life-threatening flooding across the state. Search and rescue teams as well as the National Guard, N.C. State Highway Patrol and N.C. Department of Transportation crews have made preparations for the weather as well, the release said.
State authorities are urging travelers to use extreme caution and avoid driving on flooded roadways. The governor has asked citizens to update and replenish emergency kits with bottled water, non-perishable food, a weather radio, copies of important documents, flashlights, batteries and any supplies and medications for pets.
Counties, beach towns prepare for storm
New Hanover County Emergency Management Director Warren Lee will be briefing commissioners at 4 p.m. Thursday afternoon on the progress of Hurricane Joaquin and the preparations that should begin in anticipation of the storm.
Wrightsville Beach department heads met today to discuss plans for Joaquin, and according to town manager Tim Owens, decisions about closures and cancellations will be made Friday.
Carolina Beach official have did not declare a state of emergency at their meeting Thursday afternoon. The town officials will meet again on Friday morning to reassess the weather situation, according to Carolina Beach Assistant Town Manager Ed Parvin. While Canal Drive is closed, all other roads and parks, including Freeman Park, are currently open and operating as normal.
The mayor of Kure Beach has called an emergency meeting at 4:30 p.m. this afternoon at town hall. Officials will decide whether to declare a state of emergency in anticipation of Hurricane Joaquin.