RALEIGH, N.C. (AP/WNCN) – Gov. Pat McCrory is urging residents to prepare themselves for flooding as several weather systems converge on North Carolina and Hurricane Joaquin lurks in the Atlantic Ocean.
McCrory issued a statement Wednesday noting that the ground is saturated in many places from the past week’s rains, and that the combination of wind and any additional rain from Joaquin could lead to downed trees and cause power outages across the state.
Meredith Archie, spokeswoman for Duke Energy, said the company is on a “heightened alert.” She said meteorologists are closely tracking the weather systems, and that crews are making preparations now in the event there are significant power outages.
“When there are outages, first we target emergency response, so the hospitals, making sure we get them back up. Any police stations, any fire departments, we want to get them up and back online first. But, then we work quickly to get all of our customers restored,” Archie said.
Public Safety Secretary Frank L. Perry said emergency management officials are coordinating with local officials to ensure they have what they need.
Julia Jarema, a spokeswoman for the NC Department of Public Safety, stressed that tropical storms can affect the entire state.
“There’s a lot of people that have moved into the state that are not familiar with hurricanes. And one of the things that we stress to everybody is that hurricanes are not just a coastal event. Hurricanes can impact anybody from the North Carolina coast, to the Piedmont, the central part of the state, to the mountains,” said Jarema.
The National Weather Service in Raleigh says a large swath of the state starting west of Raleigh and stretching to the coast could get between 7 and 10 inches of rain through Monday.
To ensure your family is storm ready, officials 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.
For more information, go to ReadyNC.org or download the free ReadyNC app for real-time weather, flooding, traffic and shelter information.