RALEIGH, NC (WSPA) – North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper declared a state of emergency ahead of the arrival of Hurricane Isaias.
According to the release, Cooper declared the state of emergency to “issue transportation waivers to allow trucks and supplies to move to where help is needed. The state Emergency Operations Center — already activated for COVID-19 — has activated for the storm as well, and state and local response teams are at the ready.”
“Although the track and arrival of the hurricane could still change, now is the time for North Carolinians to prepare,” Cooper said. “Hurricane preparations will be different given the COVID-19 pandemic, and families need to keep that in mind as they get ready.”
According to the release, Isaias is expected to intensify over the next 24 hours.
“The storm shifted west Friday afternoon, and its speed and path indicate it could reach North Carolina as early as Monday, making its greatest impact Monday night and Tuesday. However, the state is already seeing signs of the storm with high risk of dangerous rip currents along the coast, and the danger of tropical storm force winds is increasing,” according to the release.
According to the release, North Carolina Emergency Management, NC National Guard and the NC Department of Transportation are coordinating on where to stage Unmanned Aircraft Systems drone teams in the field.
The NC National Guard also has 75 guardsman and high water vehicles on standby.
According to the release, NCDOT has more than 1,800 personnel, 1,550 pieces of equipment and more than 1,000 chainsaws ready to respond if needed, as well as also suspended passenger ferry on Friday.
Voluntary evacuations will begin in Ocracoke, tolls at evacuation routes have been waived and they are preparing facilities and mooring plans for vessels for storm conditions, according to the news release.
“Some local governments have already issued evacuation orders,” according to the release. “While the state is still combating the COVID-19 pandemic, the state is urging people to make every effort to stay with family and friends, or even a hotel, as the first option. The state will coordinate shelters for those who need to evacuate and this will be an option for those who need it.”
According to the release, sheltering may look different this year for evacuees. Some of those changes may include:
- Residents and visitors seeking shelter will be screened for COVID-19 symptoms. If an individual has COVID symptoms, they will be redirected to a non-congregate sheltering option where they can more easily isolate.
- Social distancing means fewer residents in shelters, and if needed, more facilities and volunteers to shelter the same amount of people as in previous seasons.
- Maximizing space requirements may mean not all shelters will offer cots. Be prepared to provide your own bedding and care items.
- Meals will be served in sealed containers and shelters will move away from serving lines or buffets to minimize the potential exposure of everyone in the shelter.
For storm preparation information, visit www.readync.org/.
For information or to learn your zone, visit knowyourzone.nc.gov.