McCrory issues state of emergency ahead of rain-filled weekend

Posted October 1, 2015
Updated October 2, 2015

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— Gov. Pat McCrory declared a state of emergency effective Friday as several weather systems converge on the state and Hurricane Joaquin lurks in the Atlantic Ocean.

"We are ready and we are prepared," McCrory said at a news conference Thursday afternoon. "Our number one goal is to save lives."

Mecklenburg County Public Schools (Va.) announced Thursday that schools will be closed Friday amid the inclement weather expected from Hurricane Joaquin.

A cold front arrived in North Carolina early Thursday, and it will continue to sit over the area for the next several days, interacting with an area of low pressure that is pulling moisture up from the Gulf of Mexico.

The result will be extreme amounts of rainfall between Thursday night and Sunday, WRAL meteorologist Elizabeth Gardner said.

"Almost the entire state is under a flash flood watch from Thursday evening through Sunday, and we could see that extended," she said. "We could be talking about 5 to 10 inches of rain in some areas on top of the rain we've already gotten in the last week."

McCrory echoed the statement, stressing the possibility of flooding.

"I cannot stress enough that we are talking about a real possibility of deadly flooding in many areas around our state," he said.

Breezy conditions could result in downed power lines and trees across the region as early as Thursday night.

With the arrival of the front, temperatures will fall throughout the day Thursday, settling in the low 60s before falling into the 50s overnight into Friday morning.

Gardner said outdoor activities through the weekend, including the slate of high school football games, could be canceled or rescheduled. Numerous events have already been changed.

"The heaviest rain may move in overnight Friday and into Saturday morning," WRAL meteorologist Mike Maze said.

An updated forecast track Thursday evening showed the hurricane shifting further east into the Atlantic Ocean.

State Public Safety Secretary Frank Perry said state officials are coordinating with local officials to ensure they have what they need in the next few days. Perry said residents should expect flooding in poor-draining areas and low-lying spots.

“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," State Emergency Management Director Mike Sprayberry said in a statement.

Officials suggested the following:

  • 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, such as lumber and shutters, should be purchased now, and window casings pre-drilled.
  • Determine if you are in a flood plain or flood-prone area.
  • Know evacuation routes for your area. Listen to local officials and evacuate as instructed.
  • 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.

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