Governor Roy Cooper visited the Lobelia/Crain’s Creek area Monday afternoon to meet with local officials and to thank first responders for their work before, during and after Hurricane Florence.

According to Gov. Cooper, there have been 39 reported deaths in North Carolina related to Hurricane Florence. However, Moore County had no fatalities from the storm. Cooper attributed that to several factors, including the decision to evacuate early and the outstanding work of first responders.

Rep. Jamie Boles (NC-52) and other dignitaries who were at the fire department expressed their appreciation to Gov. Cooper for the excellent coordination between state and local officials. 

North Carolina’s Emergency Operations Center was manned 24 hours a day beginning the Monday prior to the storm’s arrival. The standard was that any requests from counties would be responded to within 30 minutes, according to Cooper.


Rep Jamie Boles and Moore County Country Board of Commissioners Chairman Catherine Graham listen to Gov. Cooper.

The center also tracked the storm,  coordinated statewide (and local and federal) relief efforts as well as the opening of shelters and evacuations. One important factor in the state’s response was the ability to maintain 911 services. 

According to Sheriff Neil Godfrey and other public safety officials, the upgraded Viper System which was installed a few years back allowed adjacent counties to provide 911 coverage during the storm as certain areas lost 911 service. At one point, Moore County’s 911 service was disrupted, but Hoke County was able to provide coverage until the system was restored. 

“Over 30 water rescues were performed during Florence resulting in the rescue of 45 people, 30 dogs and cats, and 1 chicken,” said Crain’s Creek Fire Chief Kenneth Mackey. There were Water Rescue Teams from over 30 states in North Carolina during the storm including a Michigan team in Moore County.


Crain’s Creek Fire Department Chief Kenneth Mackey.

Gov. Cooper commented that North Carolina has provided rescue teams to assist other states in emergencies, and he was thankful for the resources and aid other states from across the United States provided to North Carolina. Currently, the state’s efforts are focused on completing the damage assessments, providing relief and aid to residents affected by the storm and taking steps to alleviate the effect of future storms.


Gov. Cooper listening to local volunteers.

After meeting with local officials, Cooper toured the local damage and met with volunteers providing disaster relief to thank them for their efforts. 

“We’re going to work hard to make sure our state recovers from this thing smarter and stronger than ever,” said Gov. Cooper.

Cooper also encouraged residents who suffered losses related to Florence to be certain to apply for FEMA assistance.  You can find more information and apply for assistance here or by calling 1-800-621-3362.

Article and photographs by Sandhills Sentinel Reporter, Chris Prentice.

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