Fast tips: McCrory calls for flood preparations as Joaquin churns over Bahamas

Credit: National Hurricane Center
Credit: National Hurricane Center

Credit: National Hurricane Center

RALEIGH – Hurricane Joaquin is churning in the Atlantic, headed toward the small islands of the Bahamas. Projections from the National Hurricane Center indicate that the northern coast of North Carolina could see some impacts from the storm early next week. This would be in addition to days of widespread rain the state has seen this week.

“Residents of the Carolinas north should be paying attention and monitoring the storm. There’s no question,” said Eric Blake, a hurricane specialist with the center. “If your hurricane plans got a little dusty because of the light hurricane season, now is a good time to update them.”

Hurricane season kicked off June 1 and goes through November.  Gov. Pat McCrory warned residents this afternoon to watch for possible damage and flooding from days of heavy rains ahead of the storm system. He advised North Carolinians to download a free ReadyNC app, which was launched by the state government to provide weather, traffic, flooding and shelter information in the event of an emergency.

“We’ve had a fair amount of rain during the past week and the ground is saturated in many places,” McCrory said. “The combination of wind gusts from various weather systems and any additional rain from Joaquin could lead to downed trees and power outages in many areas, not just the coast.”

Statewide, emergency management officials are coordinating with locals to assess emergency supplies and plans. The Department of Public Safety is encouraging residents to do the same, particularly those along the coast and in low-lying areas.

“We can expect flooding in poor-drainage spots,” State Emergency Management Director Mike Sprayberry cautioned. “Regardless of the impact of Hurricane Joaquin, North Carolina has the potential for life-threatening flooding within the next week. We don’t know yet how much or how widespread the flooding will be, but we know there will be flooding.”

Credit: Jennifer Williams flooding in Avon, NC from Hurricane Earl in 2010

Credit: Jennifer Williams – flooding in Avon, NC from Hurricane Earl in 2010

Preparedness tips can be found online at www.readync.org, and here are few to get started:

  1. Be sure your emergency supplies kit has enough bottled water and non-perishable food to sustain each family member for three to seven days. Include a weather radio, flashlight, extra batteries, toiletries, change of clothes, blankets or sleeping bag, rain gear and appropriate footwear. Also include copies of important documents, such as birth certificates and insurance policies.
  2. Plan for your pets. Gather supplies for your pet and put them in an easily-accessible containers.
  3. Prepare your home. Clean out gutters and clear property of debris that could damage buildings in strong winds. Supplies, such as lumber and shutters, should be purchased now, and window casings pre-drilled.
  4. Determine if you are in a flood plain or flood-prone area.
  5. Know evacuation routes for your area. Listen to local officials and evacuate as instructed.
  6. Stay tuned to local news for the latest advisories from the National Weather Service and National Hurricane Center (NHC), as well as state and local emergency management officials.
North Carolina Public Safety Secretary Frank Perry pointed out that the highest risk of death and injury is not in a storm itself, but in the flood waters. “The storm doesn’t even have to be classified as a tropical system to cause serious damage,” Perry said. “If you see standing water, do not try to walk or drive through it. Remember: turn around, don’t drown.”