NEW HANOVER COUNTY — North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper visited New Hanover County Monday afternoon ahead of Hurricane Florence, a category 4 tropical cyclone heading toward the east coast.
Shortly after Governor Cooper left Carolina Beach’s Town Hall, Council voted to enact a mandatory evacuation for all its residents, effective Tuesday at daylight.
Many areas of southeastern North Carolina have issued mandatory evacuations for some of their residents, including Brunswick County, Leland, and now, Carolina and Kure Beach.
Both beach towns in Pleasure Island issued mandatory evacuations during emergency meetings Monday evening, with a curfew active in Carolina Beach beginning 8 p.m. Wednesday.
New Hanover County issued a voluntary evacuation notice at 5:47 p.m. Monday, urging residents to be in a safe location by 8 p.m. Wednesday.
In South Carolina, Governor Henry McMaster ordered the evacuation of eight coastal counties. Meanwhile, Governor Cooper is leaving coastal evacuation up to local governments.
“This storm has the potential to be deadly,” Cooper said during his visit to New Hanover County’s Emergency Operations Center.
On Monday, Cooper penned a letter to President Donald Trump requesting a federal declaration for the state. He said he asked for the declaration in order to disaster recovery speed up resources.
President Trump approved the request hours later, according to a statement issued by the White House Press Secretary. The move enacts the Department of Homeland Security and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to coordinate disaster relief efforts, with 75 percent federal funding.
Carolina Beach’s town manager, Michael Cramer, said the island is anticipating 20 to 30-foot seas, with a storm surge of 15 to 16 feet.
“It may not be days that we are out of power,” Cramer said, “It may be weeks or more.”
For individuals of the island who choose not to evacuate, Cramer said emergency personnel will not be deployed during hurricane-force windspeeds.
“For the duration of the storm, you will be completely and utterly on your own,” he said.
Earlier in the day, Brandon Jamison, a Carolina Beach resident, said his mother was given disturbing advice after she called the police department, concerned for his safety.
“Have him write his Social Security number on his arm,” Jamison said she was told.
Detective Sergeant Scott Hettinger said that comment was made by a civilian staff member to attempt to scare Jamison into evacuating the island, by the caller’s request. He said the statement was not made in an official capacity.
5 a.m. update
According to a National Weather Service Wilmington briefing 5 a.m. Tuesday briefing, the storm’s path has shifted slightly northward. The storm, about 400 miles wide, is moving at 15 mph, with a maximum wind speed of 140 mph.
Many area bridges will close after wind speeds exceed 40 mph (read more about when areas bridges will close here.) Cooper encouraged all residents to obey evacuation orders, save birth certificates and prepare for the worst.
“Just know that your state government is ready for this,” Cooper said. “Godspeed and please stay safe.”
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