Monday afternoon, North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper briefed the public on Hurricane Dorian’s expected landfall in North Carolina after he signed an executive order on Friday declaring a state of emergency ahead of the hurricane.
Cooper said his thoughts are with the people of the Bahamas and as the storm heads towards North Carolina, those in the state could feel the impacts by Wednesday morning. He said he has been in constant contact with the National Hurricane Center and have consulted North Carolina experts.
Within the next 24 hours, Hurricane Dorian is expected to turn north and pick up speed, Cooper said at yesterday's briefing. North Carolina’s local leaders have been consulting state emergency management and considering evacuations,” Cooper said.
“We know that these evacuations are difficult, inconvenient and sometimes costly, but we must realize the potential deadly cost of refusing to evacuate when told. We have to respect the threat that Dorian brings,” Cooper said.
Some areas are considering evacuations and some areas have ordered evacuations this afternoon, Cooper said. He told citizens to follow evacuation orders even though they may be costly. The cost of life is more than the cost of evacuating, Cooper said.
During the briefing, Cooper asked President Donald Trump for a federal disaster declaration in anticipation of Hurricane Dorian's damage so North Carolina can receive federal help if needed.
Cooper said he has activated 300 members of the North Carolina National Guard, hundreds of highway patrol troopers monitoring major roadways throughout the state. North Carolina Department of Transportation has moved resources from unaffected areas towards the eastern side of North Carolina.
Swift-water teams and search and rescue teams are in place to respond if needed, Cooper said. Incident teams of emergency managers from non-affected areas will help areas impacted by Dorian, he said.
As the storm has picked up speed, Cooper warned citizens to make sure their family and pets are prepared with supplies and evacuation plans for the storm. He said preparations now can save citizens lives and lessen their chance of needing to me rescued during the storm.
“Because this storm is anticipated to pick up speed, time is running out to get ready. So please, stock your emergency kit to support your family and pets for several days, know what you will do if you have to evacuate with your family. Stay informed and know how to get severe weather alerts,” Cooper said.
All commercial fishermen should remove all gear from the water before the storm hits, Cooper said. Boat owners should secure their boats before the storm hits, he said.
Cooper said shelters are being set up in local areas and a statewide shelter is being set up in Durham.
“We want people to heed evacuation orders. We don’t yet know the path of this storm, so we don’t know how much damage wind will bring we always know that water can be damaged, can be a real problem for our state,” Cooper said.
North Carolina Emergency Management Director Mike Sprayberry said the state emergency center is fully activated at a level one. He said he has had conference calls with the National Hurricane Center every day. There have also been conference calls with county partners each day, Sprayberry said.
“Rain, storm surge and winds will be a significant threat for hurricane east of I-95 with the greatest hazards being along our coastline,” Sprayberry said.
Sprayberry said North Carolina may begin to feel the effects of the storm as early as Wednesday. He said citizens should be fully prepared with emergency supplies by Wednesday.
Assets are being put in place ahead of tropical storm-force winds, Sprayberry said.
“We’ve activated our sheltering operation for both medical support and general population and we’re prepared to shelter pets as necessary,” Sprayberry said.
A lot of highwater vehicles are stationed on the eastern part of the state to get into Wilmington on I-40. Upon the request of New Hanover County “We’ll surge in there,” Sprayberry said.
Meteorologist Katie Webster said the storm could still move eastward or westward. She said at this point, North Carolina is not expecting the amount of rain Hurricane Florence brought last year.
Right now, five to 10 inches of rain is expected for North Carolina and 15 inches of rain for areas closer to the North Carolina coastal line, according to Webster.
“After talking with the hurricane center we have good confidence that the storm will be moving pretty quickly as it crosses our coast,” Webster said.
Pitt County Director of Public Information Mike Emory sent an emailed statement to The East Carolinian yesterday saying the county is continuing to monitor the progress of hurricane Dorian.
“We have already begun the process of reviewing resources, including staffing, equipment, and sheltering materials; and are communicating with State and regional partners, including the National Weather Service, to identify any additional resources that may be needed as the exact forecast becomes more clear,” Emory said.
As of yesterday, the Emergency Information Page of the official Pitt County website has begun to be regularly updated. Emory said he encourages everyone to save the website in their browsers and refresh often for updates from Pitt County Emergency Management during Hurricane Dorian.