Dubbed as the “storm of a lifetime”, Hurricane Florence is likely to bring heavy rains and strong winds to both North and South Carolina in the East Coast in which it has been projected to hit between 13-14 September. Additionally, more rains are also in the forecast for Virginia, Kentucky and Georgia states where flooding is highly likely in some areas. Authorities warned that mudslides should also be anticipated in these states. With its unpredictable path, local governments took no chance in advanced precautionary measures by urging all citizens along its path to evacuate if necessary. The message was echoed by President Donald J. Trump who reminded citizens to not “play games with it” and abide by instructions provided by local authorities and emergency services.
Saturday 8 September– Early warning issued by authorities in North Carolina about approach of Tropical Storm Florence
- Authorities in North Carolina declared a state of emergency in anticipation of the arrival of Tropical Storm Florence.
Sunday 9 September– Areas that could be affected by Hurricane Florence expanded to include South Carolina and Virginia
- Weather bureau indicated that the upgraded hurricane could also be impacting South Carolina and Virginia despite its unpredictable path.
- State of emergency declared in all three states.
Monday 10 September– Evacuation begins in Dare County in North Carolina
- Evacuation efforts were initiated in Dare County as the hurricane edged closer toward the coastal areas of the state. Areas included in the evacuation order Rodanthe, Waves, Salvo, Avon, Buxton, Frisco and Hatteras.
- Other states such as South Carolina and Virginia also organized similar efforts.
Tuesday 11 September– Airlines announce flight cancellations due to hurricane’s approach
- All major airlines including American, Southwest and Frontier announced cancellation of flights at airports in North Carolina till at least 16 September. The airports affected are North Carolina’s Pitt-Greenville (PGV) airport, Charleston (CHS) International airport, Coastal Regional (EWN) airport, Charlotte Douglas (CLT) International airport.
Wednesday 12 September– More evacuated as hurricane downgrade to Category 2 storm
- At least 1.7 million people were evacuated in North and South Carolina as well as Virginia due to the approaching Hurricane Florence that has been downgraded to Category 2 storm. Despite this, the threat of property damage remained high.
SAFEY will continue to monitor the path of the hurricane as the situation develops.
If a tropical storm/hurricane/typhoon is likely in your area, you should:
- Monitor news sources and this safety service for information
- Close storm shutters/windows and secure outdoor objects or bring them indoors
- Avoid using the phone, except for serious emergencies.
You should evacuate under the following conditions:
- If you are directed by local authorities or advised by this safety service to do so. Be sure to follow the instructions of local authorities.
If you are unable to evacuate, go to your wind-safe room. If you do not have one, follow these guidelines:
- Stay indoors during the hurricane and away from windows and glass doors
- Close all interior doors – secure and brace external doors.
- Keep curtains and blinds closed. Do not be fooled if there is a lull; it could be the eye of the storm – winds will pick up again.
- Take refuge in a small interior room, closet or hallway on the lowest level.
- Lie on the floor under a table or another sturdy object.
- Avoid elevators.
After a tropical storm/hurricane you should:
- Continue monitoring Weather news, local news and this security information service for the latest updates.
- Stay alert for extended rainfall and subsequent flooding even after the hurricane or tropical storm has ended.
- If you evacuated, return home only when officials say it is safe
- Drive only if necessary and avoid flooded roads and washed out bridges. Stay off the streets. If you must go out watch for fallen objects; downed electrical wires; and weakened walls, bridges, roads, and sidewalks.
- Keep away from loose or dangling power lines.
- Stay out of any building if you smell gas.
- Use battery-powered flashlights in the dark. Do NOT use candles.
- Avoid drinking or preparing food with tap water until you are sure it’s not contaminated.
- Use the telephone only for emergency calls.