*Updated Thursday afternoon to include the Governor's press conference*
Oct 1, 2015 Press Conference by North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory
Governor Pat McCrory has declared a State of Emergency in all 100 counties in preparation for severe weather that is predicated to cause severe flooding throughout the state. At a news conference at the North Carolina Emergency Operations Center, the governor said that weather systems, independent of Hurricane Joaquin, are likely to dump flooding rains on the state. Hurricane Joaquin will increase rainfall totals should it make landfall in North Carolina. Presently, the hurricane is predicted to brush the Outer Banks.
“We’re hoping for the best, but hope is not preparation nor is it a plan,” Governor 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 signed an executive order authorizing the state of emergency which will waive hour and weight restrictions for truck drivers responding to the storm. The waivers particularly help farmers and electric utility crews working to restore power.
The governor noted that fallen trees could be a particular danger given much of ground in the state is saturated after rains that have fallen throughout the state during the past week. The governor said the state is contacting federal emergency partners and will activate Emergency Operations Center Friday morning.
Public Safety Secretary Frank L. Perry said officials are preparing for widespread flooding in areas across the state.
“Regardless of the impacts of Hurricane Joaquin, North Carolina has the potential for life-threatening flooding,” cautioned Perry. “We want everyone to remember to ‘Turn around, don’t drown.'”
Search and rescue teams as well as National Guard soldiers, Highway Patrol troopers and Department of Transportation crews are preparing for the weather.
“NCDOT crews are preparing for this storm and will remain on standby as we continue to monitor its track,” Transportation Secretary Nick Tennyson said. “We are ready to shift resources as necessary to address any impacts, and we urge travelers throughout the state to use extreme caution and avoid driving on flooded roadways.”
The governor 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.
For the latest information on the oncoming weather, the governor advised citizens to stay tuned to local media and listen for updates from the National Weather Service. Information is also available at ReadyNC.org (link is external) and at the ReadyNC mobile app which can be downloaded for free.
Governor Pat McCrory has ordered state agencies to prepare for possible flooding ahead of a variety of weather systems, including Hurricane Joaquin, and is urging all North Carolinians to do the same.
“We’ve had a fair amount of rain during the past week and the ground is saturated in many places,” Governor McCrory said. “The combination of wind gusts from various weather systems and any additional rain from Joaquin could lead to downed trees and power outages in many areas, not just the coast. If you haven’t downloaded the free ReadyNC app for real-time weather, flooding, traffic and shelter information, now is the perfect time to do so.”
Public Safety Secretary Frank L. Perry said emergency management officials are coordinating with local officials to ensure they have what they need and are going through checklists to be sure their teams and supplies are ready. He encouraged all North Carolinians to do the same: review emergency plans, gather or update emergency supplies and stay tuned to local news.
“We can expect flooding in poor-drainage spots and low-lying areas,” State Emergency Management Director Mike Sprayberry cautioned. “Regardless of the impact of Hurricane Joaquin, North Carolina has the potential for life-threatening flooding within the next week. We don’t know yet how much or how widespread the flooding will be, but we know there will be flooding.”
Sprayberry stressed that all areas of the state are susceptible to flooding, not just coastal areas. To ensure your family is storm ready, he suggested
- Be sure your emergency supplies kit has enough bottled water and non-perishable food to sustain each family member for three to seven days. Include a weather radio, flashlight, extra batteries, toiletries, change of clothes, blankets or sleeping bag, rain gear and appropriate footwear. Also include copies of important documents, such as birth certificates and insurance policies.
- Plan for your pets. Gather supplies for your pet and put them in an easily-accessible container.
- Prepare your home. Clean out gutters and clear property of debris that could damage buildings in strong winds. Supplies, such as lumber and shutters, should be purchased now, and window casings pre-drilled.
- Determine if you are in a flood plain or flood-prone area.
- Know evacuation routes for your area. Listen to local officials and evacuate as instructed.
- Stay tuned to local news for the latest advisories from the National Weather Service and National Hurricane Center (NHC), as well as state and local emergency management officials.
Secretary Perry said most storm-related deaths are caused by flooding. “If you see standing water, do not try to walk or drive through it,” he cautioned. “Remember: turn around, don’t drown.”
For more information, go to ReadyNC.org or download the free ReadyNC app for real-time weather, flooding, traffic and shelter information.