Gov. declares state of emergency


By Kitsey Burns Harrison



After steady rains for the last few days and the threat of a hurricane brushing the coast, Gov. Pat McCrory has declared a state of emergency for all 100 North Carolina counties.

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

On Thursday afternoon, Yadkin County Emergency Management Director Keith Vestal was on a conference call with the state Emergency Operations Center in Raleigh and the National Weather Service.

“They’re telling us at this point, here in Yadkin County, we can expect anywhere from three to seven inches of additional rain, this is worst case scenario, with 25 to 30 mph winds. This is going to affect us tonight through Friday. Saturday may be dry and the last bands of rain will come through on Sunday as it passes our coast,” Vestal said. “Our major chances for river flooding will be Monday and Tuesday.”

Vestal said he had advised the Commissioners and County Manager of the situation and the county Emergency Operations Center would be partially activated at 7:30 a.m. on Friday morning. Though a state of emergency has not yet been declared by county officials, that could change at a moment’s notice depending on how the storm plays out. Vestal said that by declaring a state of emergency both for the state, or locally, it would increase speed with which supplies or other needed assistance could come to the area during the storm and in its aftermath.

Water covering area roadways is the primary safety concern Vestal said he wanted to warn area residents about.

“If the creeks start to rise and there’s water running over bridges or roadway, that’s a really dangerous situation because you can’t always tell how deep that water is,” Vestal said. “It only takes a few inches of running water to completely sweep a vehicle off the roadway and maybe turn it over and drown you. With this much rain, if you’re not sure how deep it is, don’t drive through it. Be very watchful of downed trees and consider all power lines energized if they are on the ground.”

On the Governor’s website, Public Safety Secretary Frank L. Perry also said that most storm-related deaths are caused by flooding.

“If you see standing water, do not try to walk or drive through it,” he said. “Remember: turn around, don’t drown.”

Vestal also advised residents to have fresh water and foods that could be prepared without using electricity for a minimum of 72 hours in case of power outages.

Additional emergency items to have on hand, listed on the Governor’s website include a weather radio, flashlights, 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.

For more information, go to ReadyNC.org or download the free ReadyNC app for real-time weather, flooding, traffic and shelter information.

By Kitsey Burns Harrison

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