The town of Carolina Beach is working under a special 48- hour operational period effective Friday afternoon to make sure residents and visitors are safe during a weekend when bad weather is expected.
The operations, fire and police departments all have employees working 12-hour shifts this weekend to deal with any damages or incidents related to the storms. While this is normal for the first responders (both the fire and police chiefs said they had people on stand-by to boost their staff), there are just five employees rotating 12-hour shifts (two workers per shift) to monitor stormwater. According to Gil DuBois, the town’s director of public utilities, they have others on call to help with operational, facilities and sanitation and stormwater issues if needed.
“If it’s just a rain event, the biggest thing we’re going to have to deal with would be stormwater,” said DuBois.
In anticipation of heavy rain, and as a result of the flooding that occurred during last week’s storm, the town’s pumps have been running for the last few days, particularly at Carolina Beach Lake, which rises and falls with the tide. DuBois said there is a possibility that Lake Park Boulevard could flood near the lake, but that has not happened yet. The other big area of concern, Canal Drive, has been closed off to all motorists except residents until further notice.
Freeman Park, which was closed for a few days earlier this week due to damage from last week’s storm and lunar event, will also be closed this weekend. DuBois said all the trash barrels have been removed from the beach, and they’re working on tying down other loose structures or items that could go flying in high winds.
While officials are confident the town, which has been proactive all week in securing resources from the county and elsewhere to help mitigate any problems, has the ability to deal with any situation that may come up, council members requested that the public works employees on long shifts be provided with coffee, food and whatever else necessary to help them stay alert and at full strength.
“As long as we’re doing whatever we can to help them the way they’re helping us,” Councilmember Steve Shuttleworth said.
Parking lot pay stations and meters will also be taken down or covered as a precaution. During the weekend, no citations will be given to allow people to park their vehicles in the safest place they can.
Snow’s Cut Bridge will remain open. According to Assistant Town Manager Ed Parvin, the bridge will only be closed if there are sustained winds of 45 miles per hour or higher, which is not expected this weekend. Though the town is under a state of emergency, no evacuations or other restrictions are currently in effect.
Residents who see any downed trees or power lines or any vehicles stuck in flooded areas should first call 911. The town’s departments will respond from there. As the rain continues to fall, officials are also encouraging drivers to stay away from roads in low-lying areas that are prone to flooding unless absolutely necessary.