Governor Roy Cooper declared a state of emergency Wednesday afternoon for the entire state ahead of Hurricane Irma.
While it’s too early to tell what impacts Hurricane Irma may have on North Carolina, the state is encouraging North Carolina residents and visitors to update their emergency plans and kits and stay tuned to local media. The current track places the storm in the Florida Keys early Sunday.
“You can never be too prepared for an emergency,” Governor Cooper said. “We know from Hurricane Matthew and Hurricane Harvey that storm tracks can shift quickly and that’s why North Carolina isn’t waiting to get ready. These tropical systems can pack a powerful punch and those who are prepared ahead of time will fare better.”
State officials are monitoring Irma and studying forecast tracks closely. Public Safety Secretary Erik Hooks said state emergency management officials are coordinating with local officials and state partners to ensure they have what they need and that their teams and supplies are ready should the storm impact North Carolina.
Here in Moore County, due to numerous request, the Pinehurst Harness Track will open its facility for equine evacuees to assist those in need of safe stabling outside of the storm’s path and predicted impact radius. There will be 260 stalls available for reservation on a first come/first reserved basis. However, all health documents must be presented with the horse upon arrival. You will need Negative Coggins test within one year and proof of EHV1 and EHV4 vaccinations within six months. For horse owners who are interested are advised to contact Track Superintendent Ray Skellington at 910-638-5198. For more information on the Pinehurst Harness Track, visit www.pinehurstharness.org.
In addition, Moore County Schools stated on social media, they have been receiving inquiries regarding the potential impact of Hurricane Irma on Moore County Schools. The schools are stating that “parents are advised to make sure their contact information is up-to-date in PowerSchool and to contact their school if updates are needed so they may receive communications from the school and the district in a timely manner.” The schools also stated that maintenance crews are working to address any issues related to the securing of facilities and to make sure gutters are clear and flowing to prepare for the possibility of the storm hitting Moore County.
Last week, Governor Cooper declared September as North Carolina Emergency Preparedness Month and urged residents and visitors to plan for future emergencies.
To ensure your family is storm ready:
Get your emergency kit ready. 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.
Plan for your pets. Gather supplies for your pet and put them in an easily-accessible container.
Prepare your home. Clean out gutters and clear property of debris that could damage buildings in strong winds. Supplies needed to secure your home, such as lumber and shutters, should be purchased now, and window casings pre-drilled.
Find out your flood risk. Determine if you are in a flood plain or flood-prone area.
Learn evacuation routes for your area. Listen to local officials and evacuate as instructed.
Keep up with weather advisories. 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.
As Irma moves toward a possible impact on the continental U.S., Texas is still recovering from Hurricane Harvey and North Carolinians have been helping with those efforts, including search and rescue and swift water teams. Those crews will return home before the weekend and be ready to support storm response here in North Carolina if needed.