RALEIGH – State transportation officials are helping with evacuations along the coast, readying emergency supplies and finalizing preparations for Hurricane Florence.
The N.C. Department of Transportation’s Ferry Division evacuated 2,181 people and transported 1,074 vehicles from Ocracoke on the Hatteras, Cedar Island and Swan Quarter routes between 1 p.m. Monday and today when the last ferry left Ocracoke. The division suspended ferry operations from Ocracoke after Wednesday morning’s trips. All ferries are being placed in safe harbor and will be secured to different docks until conditions improve.
NCDOT staff in all 100 counties have prepared equipment for possible clearing efforts, shoulder repairs and crossline replacements that can be used in the aftermath of Hurricane Florence. A total of 2,166 employees in all 14 NCDOT divisions have been preparing for Hurricane Florence.
In Division 11, which includes Alleghany, Ashe, Avery, Caldwell, Surry, Watauga, Wilkes and Yadkin counties, staff have 176 employees ready to respond with 44 chainsaws, 11 front-loaders, three bulldozers, 13 backhoes, 21 motor graders, 79 barricades and 92 road closed signs, which are used to designate high water too.
In some areas of North Carolina, crews have staged equipment in different areas so it can be available once cleanup and recovery begins. Generators have been checked and readied, and traffic services offices are staging message boards and loading emergency trailers with barricades, signs and drums. NCDOT staff have made arrangements to have contractors on standby ready to respond to any storm-related tasks such as cutting and removing downed trees from roads.
NCDOT is also preparing active transportation projects for potential impacts. Erosion and control measures have been checked and staff are making sure earth-moving equipment and cranes are secure.
On the Outer Banks Monday, NCDOT staff flew drones from Hatteras north to Kitty Hawk at all traditional “hot spots” to obtain overhead video of pre-storm conditions. Fifteen NCDOT drones and multiple teams of pilots are being readied for post-event damage assessment.
The division is also monitoring the status of North Carolina's public airports.
Staff at the Global TransPark, an industrial park in Kinston and a division of the NCDOT, are preparing the facility to serve as a headquarters for emergency rescue and response operations in eastern North Carolina. By Wednesday, 1,500 federal and state emergency response personnel and military crews from North Carolina and the rest of the nation will be stationed at the Global TransPark. Team members with different skill sets will respond to emergency requests for help and be deployed to help clear roads, rescue people by water, land and air and support the operation.
The emergency rescue and response facility at the Global TransPark will be fully operational by Wednesday. In addition to housing emergency response crews, the facility also will be used to store thousands of emergency supplies, including rescue boats and aircraft, meals ready to eat, and medical supplies.
The Global TransPark also served as an incident command post for emergency response operations during the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew.
Division of Motor Vehicles
Thirty-one driver license offices in eastern North Carolina and some in central areas of the state were closed by noon Wednesday in preparation for Hurricane Florence. Road tests and mobile office visits were canceled in those affected areas. About 25 license plate offices were expected to close by the end of the day Wednesday and could remain closed for the rest of the week, depending on the weather.
Closures and changes to office hours can be found on the office locations page of the official NCDMV website at MyNCDMV.gov. Many DMV services, including renewing driver licenses, ordering duplicate ID cards or renewing vehicle registration, can be done online.