Kure Beach Urges Residents To Prepare For Potential Hurricanes

Lake Park Blvd and Hamlet Avenue in Carolina Beach following Hurricane Florence, 2018. Flooding occurred in areas around the lake in Carolina Beach. Lake Park Blvd and Hamlet Avenue in Carolina Beach following Hurricane Florence, 2018. Flooding occurred in areas around the lake in Carolina Beach.

Kure Beach Urges Residents To Prepare For Potential Hurricanes Featured

By / Local News / Wednesday, 07 August 2019 15:11

By WILLARD KILLOUGH III
Managing Editor

KURE BEACH - The New Hanover County area is still recovering from  the impacts of Hurricane Florence in September 2018, in terms of securing federal funding to repair infrastructure.

Kure Beach Town Councilman David Heglar also serves as the Emergency Response Coordinator for the Town. On July 24th, Heglar issued a letter to the public urging citizens to prepare for the 2019 Hurricane season which began June 1st and ends November 30th.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Wilmington area experienced as much 30 inches of rain during the storm and, "Florence was a long-lived, category 4 hurricane (on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale) that made landfall along the southeastern coast of North Carolina near the upper end of category 1. Florence caused devastating freshwater flooding across much of the southeastern United States and significant storm surge flooding in portions of eastern North Carolina. Florence resulted in 22 direct deaths and was also associated with 30 indirect fatalities."

Heglar advised residents explaining, " At the beginning of Hurricane season I would like to take a minute of your time to talk about Hurricane planning and the individual citizen.  As a resident of a coastal community – the Hurricane threat is a real issue that requires you to have a plan of action for you and your family.  While it may not have seemed it – we as a community were very fortunate that Hurricane Florence came to Kure Beach as a CATEGORY 1 Hurricane."

He explained, "Do not let the minor damage that occurred during that storm cause you to not make the proper plan for you and your family.  Please take the time to fully read this letter and then spend time with your family discussing the actions that you plan to take in the event the town is threatened by a Hurricane.  A key portion of your personal plan should consider what circumstances would prompt you to evacuate, where you would evacuate to and what you would take. Why evacuate?  A Hurricane is the strongest force of nature on the planet with an impact area of hundreds of square miles.  While the building codes have continued to make our homes stronger – it only takes a small piece of debris to compromise the structure which can result in leaving the occupants at the mercy of the elements."

Heglar explained, "During the storm, non-evacuees are completely on their own as the Emergency Services personnel will not be able to respond for assistance due to the danger involved.  Following the storm – there will be an extended amount of time with no Electricity, possibly no water, and for 2-3 days (Cat 2/3), up to 5 days (Cat 4) or longer (Cat 5) – no outside assistance.  This means that non-evacuees must be prepared to provide their own first aid, food, shelter, and water for this length of time with temperatures 5-10 degrees hotter than normal and typically no breeze.  Curfews will be in effect – this is to protect the property of those who wisely chose to evacuate meaning that during the recovery phase – non-evacuees will be confined to their property."

He explained recovery efforts are initially focused on clearing downed power lines, debris and maintaining the integrity of the Town's water system. He explained, "During Hurricane Fran this resulted in the majority of oceanfront homes being shut-off due to water pressure concerns. The emergency personnel do not maintain adequate supplies for citizens who elect to not evacuate and therefore a decision to stay means that you must have adequate supplies for you and your family. Postponing the evacuation decision may result in being unable to leave as the Snow’s Cut Bridge will be closed by the NC Highway Patrol when sustained winds make it unsafe to cross."

Heglar explained, "What does the town do? As the storm approaches – Town Officials will closely coordinate with NHC Emergency Management to issue voluntary or mandatory evacuations. Town employees and volunteers will prepare the town’s infrastructure for the storm – boarding up public buildings, renting and hooking up generators to the town’s wells to protect the water system, getting supplies for the emergency services personnel and conveying information door-to-door to ensure that citizens are informed.  For larger storms – isolating water to the oceanfront homes, preparing to evacuate town equipment from the island and securing public buildings."

Many oceanfront homes were destroyed during Fran and that resulted in open water lines that when service was restored, prevented adequate pressure throughout the entire Town-wide water system.

Heglar explained, "Town employees and volunteers will lock-in during the storm at the Fire, Police, Public Works and Town Hall buildings unless the storm severity requires evacuation of emergency personnel inland.  Following the storm landfall they will quickly begin the process of recovery to restore vital services, protect property and remove debris.  Assessment teams will visit damaged property to perform initial damage assessments required by the State and Federal governments. Curfews will be in affect to ensure that the property of citizens who evacuated is protected.  Co-ordination with the New Hanover County Emergency Management and Carolina Beach will occur to restore access to the public as soon as conditions are safe for return."

For people that do decide to ride out a storm, Heglar explained that's not recommended and, "If you do decide to stay – YOU ARE ON YOUR OWN.  During the storm – you must be prepared to perform emergency repairs to your home if necessary, trained and confident to perform first aid on yourself or others staying in the home, have supplies for an extended period of time and be ready for the oppressive heat that follows a storm. The days from landfall until public access is restored will be spent on your property, with no electricity (unless you have a generator), the sounds of generators, debris removal, and the still air and heat that follows a storm – eating the supplies that you prepared for the storm with and drinking hot drinks."

Other considerations are to ensure you have adequate supplies of prescriptions such as blood pressure medications. It may be weeks before local pharmacies can reopen and refill prescriptions.

He explained, "As the Emergency Manager – life safety is the primary focus of the Emergency Response.  I encourage you to carefully consider your actions in the event of a Hurricane threat to Kure Beach and to plan accordingly now – so that the pressure of the moment, the bravado of people telling you that it is no big deal and the inopportune timing do not result in a poor decision for you and your family.  For more information on personal planning go to www.fema.gov  and www.weather.gov/os/hurricane/resources/ .  I encourage every citizen to create a Family Disaster Plan to be prepared."

If you have any questions or comments please contact Town Hall at 458-8216 or email Heglar at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Town officials are also urging residents to check to make sure they have received their vehicle Re-Entry Decals. Each property owner was mailed a Re-Entry packet which included two re-entry decals at the beginning of the year. Additional Emergency Vehicle Re-Entry Decals are only sold until July 31st at a cost of $20 each. The re-entry decal is mandatory whenever bridge access is restricted. If bridge access is restricted due to an emergency, residents or property owners that do not have re-entry decals will be redirected to another location to obtain a decal with appropriate proof of property ownership or residency at a location to be designated.

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