As Hurricane Irma, currently a Category 5 storm, makes its way to the U.S., emergency officials in North Carolina are preparing for the worst.
Officials with North Carolina’s State Emergency Operations center say there’s no such thing as being over prepared.
“We’re stepping it up right now,” said Mike Sprayberry, the director for emergency management. “We’re prepared to work in the coming days to ensure the state emergency response team is well prepared.”
Although the path of Hurricane Irma is not certain, officials are working preparing for the storm to hit North Carolina.
“I’m very concerned because as you see a storm that’s a Category 5, 180 mph wind, out there in the Atlantic, right now it’s tracking the way that it is, but there’s still several days before we actually know what impact it’s going to have on North Carolina,” said Sprayberry.
Workers are communicating with local counties to make sure they are well supported with resources.
They are also talking to officials in South Carolina and Virginia, in case the states have to work together on an evacuation.
“Visitors will be asked to evacuate first, and if the situation worsens, then you’ll see them ask for residents to leave,” said Sprayberry. “We have the capability to open shelters as folks evacuate, although we find that a lot of people like to stay with family and friends when they evacuate.”
State emergency officials are still helping with recovery efforts from Hurricane Matthew almost a year ago.
The state says preparations continue to get before after every hurricane.
“We’ve already developed our conception of operations,” said Sprayberry. “We refine it with every disaster. I will tell you that I’m sure there’s some good lessons learned from Hurricane Harvey, those haven’t been shared with us yet, so we’ll continue to go with our own concept of operations that we think is tried and true for North Carolina.”
Sprayberry says FEMA will be sending a representative to North Carolina this week to have more discussions about preparing for this storm.