New Hanover County Preparing For Hurricane Florence

Residents stood in long lines on Monday September 10th,  at the Carolina Beach Town Hall to purchase Town Identification Decals (TIC's) in preparation for Hurricane Florence. TIC's are required for reentry to Town following an evacuation. The typical wait time was between one to two hours. Decals were on sale Tuesday and will be available following the storm at Masonboro Commons with proof of residency using a Driver's License and utility bill. Residents stood in long lines on Monday September 10th, at the Carolina Beach Town Hall to purchase Town Identification Decals (TIC's) in preparation for Hurricane Florence. TIC's are required for reentry to Town following an evacuation. The typical wait time was between one to two hours. Decals were on sale Tuesday and will be available following the storm at Masonboro Commons with proof of residency using a Driver's License and utility bill.

New Hanover County Preparing For Hurricane Florence Featured

By / Local News / Tuesday, 11 September 2018 03:42

By WILLARD KILLOUGH III
Managing Editor

CAROLINA BEACH - New Hanover County and all municipalities declared a State of Emergency Monday September 10th, in preparation for the expected arrival of Hurricane Florence on Thursday September 13th.

On Monday forecasts from the National Hurricane Center indicated Florence would likely make landfall in the area of the New Hanover County and Pender County line as a Category 4 storm with winds in excess of 140 mph.

The Carolina Beach and Kure Beach Town Councils held meetings Monday night and declared a State of Emergency as well as calling for a mandatory evacuation beginning at 7am Tuesday morning. All residents were told to evacuate by 8pm Wednesday night when a curfew will begin until further notice.

Over the weekend area residents began clearing the shelves of local grocery stores, Walmart, Home Depot and Lowes buying water, fuel, generators and other supplies.

On Monday, Mike Patel - owner of Sea Merchants Grocery Store in Carolina Beach - said he ordered additional pallets of bottled water. 24 packs were selling for $2.99 each.

Patel said the store was busier than over the Labor Day weekend with people searching for water, beer, canned foods and other essentials.

Pumps at gas stations on Pleasure Island were running low on fuel over the weekend as people topped off their tanks and bought fuel for generators.

Plywood was in short supply at most locations throughout New Hanover County.

Residents stood in long lines at the Carolina Beach Town Hall starting Monday morning and throughout the day. Residents were making a last minute effort to purchase Town Identification Cards (TIC's) that will allow them to return to the Island following the storm. The average wait time throughout the day was between one and two hours.

Town officials announced Monday evening they would continue selling the decals on Tuesday. After that, residents who evacuate  will be able to purchase them at a location at Masonboro Commons Shopping Center north of  Snow's Cut Bridge and Pleasure Island following the storm.

The Carolina Beach Town Council held a special meeting Monday night. During that meeting, North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper stressed the importance of adhering to evacuation notices due to the potential severity of the storm.

Town Manager Michael Cramer explained, "At the present time it is a category three hurricane. We do expect that it will reach the Carolina coast most likely starting with some tropical storm winds on Wednesday evening probably around eight o'clock. This is a very dangerous storm. We do expect that by the time it gets to the coast, it will be a category four storm. The current trajectory suggest it will make landfall somewhere at the County border between New Hanover County and Pender County. That is the best information we have. This is 72 hours out so things can definitely change during that time frame. As the governor had mentioned, we sort of plan these for the worst and we hope for the best."

Cramer explained, "Currently we are looking at high winds, high storm surge, quite a bit of rain and high marine surf warnings from Thursday through Friday and into Saturday. It may last longer than that depending on the trajectory of the storm one it makes landfall. Right now, it is a category three with 115 mph winds. Approximately 580 miles off of the south, southeast of Bermuda and it's moving west at 13 mph."

He explained, "We have looked back through some of the records. The last time that Carolina Beach had a category four storm, we had very little in the way of warning, we had very little in the way of data and information because that was in 1954 with Hazel. So in this case we do have much better information and we have time to plan and prepare but that doesn't take away from the severity of the storm. One of the things we want to impart to everybody is, we do look at the tropical storm winds and we expect that those will start getting to the coast on Wednesday evening around eight o'clock."

Cramer said the forecast indicated the storm would stall over the New Hanover County area upon making landfall and could continue to bring rain and high winds beyond the time of landfall. He explained, "Typically when we get blows from storms we have the storms blow in and come and go within a day or so. This one may actually sit on us for a little while which will make it much more challenging when we try and bring people back to the Island or we do recovery efforts after the storm passes."

Cramer said Monday that rainfall predictions indicate seven to eight inches of rain with as much as 12 inches of rain inland.

He said, "This is going to be a very dangerous storm. I can't impart that enough. Right now we have talked with the County and each one of the beach communities. We have of course had conversations with the State and all of the models seem to concur on this path. So we are working very diligently with our partners trying to make sure we all the correct information so we can go and meet the needs of the community in the storm."

Cramer said the Town had started pumping water out of the Carolina Beach Lake for the previous 24 hours and would continue until nearly all water was removed. The Town also started pumping water from larger storm water ponds throughout Town.

The Town also began placing sand at Mike Chapel Park off Dow Road for residents to fill sand bags to place around their doors.

Town crews also began using sand bags to protect well pumps and other Town facilities.

The Town also began notifying area contractors to secure construction sites to remove materials that would become projectiles during the storm and threaten lives and property.

The Town is also using a recently installed pipe that runs under South Lake Park Blvd in the area of the Lake to pump flood waters to the ocean during and after the storm.

Areas around Carolina Beach Lake historically flood during intense hurricanes and tropical storms. Other pumps will be placed at sewer lift stations to help prevent overflows during the storm.

Info on how to obtain a TIC card can be found on the Town's website at www.carolinabeach.org

Cramer explained, "We established this process a several years ago and this is probably the first large scale hurricane where we've had to use it. So the lines are a little bit longer just because people haven't been keeping up on their TIC cards and getting them issued early in the year. At the beginning of the year we did issue TIC cards and mailed them out to all property owners on the Island. So if own and live here on Carolina Beach you should have received in the mail one of those TIC cards. That should have said your name, address, what zone you are in and that is what will allow you to get back on the Island when we open the Island back up for business. We will continue to sell those TIC cards up until about six o'clock tomorrow night. After that we will have everything stationed at Masonboro Commons in case we have an evacuation."

He explained, "Once an evacuation order is made... when you get into the Island what we'll be asking you for is one, your TIC card if you are from Carolina Beach. In Kure Beach, they use stickers on the vehicles. So they will able to have the stickers available and you will be able to see those. We will have two ticket booths right at River Road at the intersection of River Road and Carolina Beach. We will have staff there and police officers there to go and visually inspect, yep you have a sticker and you can get to Kure Beach or you have the correct card and you are allowed to get into Carolina Beach. At that point you'll be waved across the bridge and you'll be able go to your home and inspect it and make any repairs and then we ask you then after that point to come back off the Island unless we have opened up the Island for residential habitation."

Snow's Cut Bridge leading onto Pleasure Island will be closed when sustained winds reach 45 mph.

Cramer explained, "Once we have issued a mandatory evacuation and people have left the Island. Anybody that is still on the Island during the storm will be on their own. I can't state that strongly enough. After about 50 mph in wind speed, anywhere on the Island that is sustained, it is not safe for me to put police, fire, EMS or other emergency personnel out there to go and help citizens in need until the storm passes. So yes, for the duration of the storm, you will be completely and utterly on your own. That is why it is so extremely important that you heed the warnings and the evacuation orders and leave the Island and wait until we are instructing you to come back. That is the safest most cautious approach you can have."

The Town will use drones to fly over the Town following the storms to post video of severely damaged areas.

Officials expect low lying areas, particularly in the downtown area of Carolina Beach, so see flood waters up to nine feet above ground due to rain and storm surge washing over the dunes.

Cramer said officials with Duke Power said power may not be restored for weeks depending on the severity of the damage and wind speeds following the storms. In 30 to 40 mph winds following a storm, crews will not work on power lines due to safety concerns.

For more information on Hurricane Florence before, during and after the storm, please visit www.islandgazette.net  or https://emergency.nhcgov.com/

The Carolina Beach declaration of emergency states in part:

Evacuation. A mandatory evacuation will begin on Tuesday at 7:00 AM and all residents shall be off the Island no later than 8:00PM Wednesday.

Curfew: No one should be on the streets of Carolina Beach after 8:00PM on Wednesday until further notice.

No Alcoholic Beverages. No Alcohol Sales after 8:00PM on Wednesday.

No Firearms, Ammunition, or Explosives. No open carry after 8:00PM Wednesday.

Execution of Emergency Plan. All persons and emergency personnel within the Town of Carolina Beach are ordered to comply with the emergency plan.

Pubic Shelters. Beginning Tuesday at 7:00PM, the first local evacuation shelter will be open at Trask Middle School. This is a pet co-location shelter, and limited food service will be available.

To watch a video of the September 10th, special meeting of the Carolina Beach Town Council, click here:
https://youtu.be/LTNN5hMmhRo

5:55PM September 10th: NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC – For safety purposes, New Hanover County Emergency Management is recommending a voluntary evacuation for all of New Hanover County, including Carolina Beach, Kure Beach, Wrightsville Beach, and the City of Wilmington.

Residents and visitors should evacuate and be in a safe location before 8 p.m. on Wednesday, September 12.

Tropical storm force winds are anticipated to arrive in our area by 6 a.m. on Thursday, September 13, so all evacuations and preparations should be complete by Wednesday at 8 p.m.

The first local evacuation shelter will open at Trask Middle School on Tuesday at 7 p.m. This is a pet co-location shelter and cats and dogs are welcome (no exotic animals), and limited food service will be available for people seeking shelter.

“Shelters should be used as a last resort,” said Emergency Management Director Steven Still. “If you act appropriately now, you will have enough time to be in a safe place in preparation for the storm’s landfall.”

Those seeking emergency shelter should bring their own blankets/pillows, prescription medications and other necessary items. No alcohol, illegal drugs, or weapons are permitted. Pet owners should bring their dog or cat in crates, along with pet food.

New Hanover County Emergency Management is activating the Emergency Operations Center and Joint Information Center at noon on September 11. Anyone with questions about evacuating or shelter openings can call the public information hotline telephone number beginning at noon tomorrow at (910) 798-6800. The latest information regarding Hurricane Florence can be found on the EmergencyNHC.com website.

Residents and visitors are urged to complete their hurricane preparation and evacuation plans, as Hurricane Florence nears.

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Carolina Beach North Carolina

Cloudy
65°F
ESE at 23 mph /78%
Tuesday
59°F / 73°F
Wednesday
51°F / 58°F
Thursday
55°F / 66°F

 

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