Hurricane Matthew: Pender County urges people in mobile homes, low-lying areas to comply if asked to evacuate is your source for free news and information in the Wilmington area.

The National Weather Service Hurricane Matthew map from Friday morning, Oct. 7.
The National Weather Service Hurricane Matthew map from Friday morning, Oct. 7. The dark red is a Tropical Storm Warning. Light red is a hurricane warning.

Updated on Friday, 4 p.m. – this story now includes information about shelters in Pender County

PENDER COUNTY — With Hurricane Matthew’s latest track taking a more northern route and the latest alerts from the National Weather Service warning of “life-threatening” flooding, Pender County Emergency Management is urging people living in mobile homes to evacuate the area.

“Matthew is likely to produce devastating impacts from storm surge, extreme winds, and heavy rains along extensive portions of the east-central and northeast coast of Florida today,” the agency posted on its Facebook page. “Evacuations are not just a coastal event. Strong winds will occur well inland from the coast, and residents of mobile homes under evacuation orders are urged to heed those orders.

“Hurricane winds increase very rapidly with height, and residents of high-rise buildings are at particular risk of strong winds. Winds at the top of a 30-story building will average one Saffir-Simpson category higher than the winds near the surface,” the post states.

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Complicating the matter is the storm’s coast-hugging track, the agency notes. While the latest models have the storm’s center missing inland North Carolina, its proximity to land make predictions unreliable.

“When a hurricane is forecast to take a track roughly parallel to a coastline, as Matthew is forecast to do from Florida through South Carolina, it becomes very difficult to specify impacts at any one location,” the post states. “Only a small deviation of the track to the left of the NHC forecast could bring the core of a major hurricane onshore within the hurricane warning area in Florida and Georgia. Modest deviations to the right could keep much of the hurricane-force winds offshore.”

The National Weather Service in Wilmington this morning warned that the saturated grounds and expected storm surge could topple trees, down power lines and wash out roads while the storm could leave flood-prone and low lying areas susceptible to flash floods.

“Areas accessible by low lying roads will likely be cut off,” Pender County Emergency Management wrote. “Residents, especially those with medical needs in these locations should consider re-locating to safer and more accessible locations if possible. Complete your disaster preparedness kits and other safety preparations today. Evacuate if asked to do so.”

The Pender County Office of Emergency Management will open two shelters at 6 p.m. Friday — Topsail Elementary School at 17385 Hwy 17 in Hampstead and Burgaw Middle School at 500 S. Wright Street in Burgaw.

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