RALEIGH, N.C. — Gov. Mike Easley said Monday that local and state emergency management officials are closely tracking Hurricane Isabel's path, and he urges North Carolinians to take proper precautions.
"We have a lot of experience dealing with storms and want to be prepared in case bad weather hits," Easley said. "At this point, we do not know whether the hurricane will make landfall in North Carolina. We will update the public on any protective steps or actions they may need to take as the situation unfolds."
The storm weakened slightly Monday but was still a powerful Category 4 as it swept across the Atlantic Ocean, according to the
National Hurricane Center.
Forecast models showed the storm hitting the East Coast anywhere from North Carolina to New Jersey with wind up to 130 mph late Thursday or early Friday.
Easley mobilized state agencies as Hurricane Isabel approaches the east coast.
"We are taking steps to prepare in case Hurricane Isabel hits North Carolina," Easley said. "Residents should monitor weather forecasts, stock up on needed supplies such as gasoline and water, and tune to news broadcasts to hear the latest updates from emergency management personnel.
"The storm has weakened in recent hours but still poses a significant threat and could strengthen again," Easley said. "We are coordinating with federal, state and local officials on storm preparation and response."
Storm surge is anticipated in the sounds, and the northeastern portion of the state is predicted to get the heaviest rain. Strong winds could occur inland. Landfall is expected Thursday about 8 a.m. at Cape Hatteras, with Isabel's eye passing over the Outer Banks midday.
Beginning Tuesday, the N.C. Division of Emergency Management will be holding periodic briefings on the storm and preparedness efforts.
Hyde County issued a mandatory evacuation order for Ocracoke Island Monday at 12:30 p.m.
The Village of Bald Head Island is calling for a voluntary evacuation
begining at 9 a.m. Tuesday
Dare County is expected to make a decision Tuesday on the possible evacuation of Hatteras Island.
The N.C. Department of Transportation's Ferry Division has suspended its regular ferry schedule to and from Ocracoke Island. The ferries are operating on an as-needed basis to evacuate the island until further notice. Other ferry routes will remain on schedule as long as conditions permit.
To assist with the Ocracoke evacuation, emergency shelters are open at Fike High School in Wilson and 7 p.m. at Benvenue Elementary School in Rocky Mount.
DOT's Division of Highways is making preparations to move personnel and equipment to coastal areas to help clear debris from roadways as necessary. For the latest on road conditions, people can visit the department's real-time travel information website at www.ncdot.org and click on "Real-Time Travel Info."
Division of Emergency Management
urges residents to do the following:
Determine If You Are In A Storm-Surge Zone:
Residents living in
may be ordered to evacuate. Evacuation zones will be identified by local emergency managers through the news media. You also should know if your home is located in a flood plain. These areas suffer excessively from heavy rains associated with hurricanes. Since flooding causes most hurricane-related deaths, flood plains are generally among the first areas requiring evacuation. If you do not know the safe escape routes in your area, call the local emergency management office.
Prepare To Evacuate If Ordered To Do So:
Residents living in storm-surge zones, and those living in mobile homes that are directly in the storm's path, must plan for their evacuation now. If evacuations are called for, public shelters will be set up for evacuees. However, it might be more comfortable for those who evacuate to stay at a hotel or friend's home that is out of the storm's path. These arrangements must be made now since hotels fill up quickly and out-of-county evacuations take time.
Register For Special Care:
Residents needing transportation or medical care during an evacuation should contact their local emergency management office, if they have not already done so. Special needs shelters require advance registration. County emergency management officials are listed in you local phone book under County Government
Consider The Safety of Pets:
Except for service animals, health regulations do not allow pets in public shelters. Residents
to board pets with their veterinarian, a kennel, or an identified pet shelter. They should attach identification and rabies tags to their pets' collars.
Fuel Cars, Obtain Cash, and Secure Important Documents:
Residents should fill their cars with gasoline and have enough cash on hand to last a week in case they are ordered to evacuate. During power-outages, gas stations and ATM machines do not work.
It is also important to secure original copies of documents in a waterproof container in case of flooding.
Obtain Supplies To Protect The Home:
If residents are ordered to evacuate, there will be little time to protect their homes from the storm. Supplies, such as lumber and shutters, should be purchased now, and window casing pre-drilled.
All outdoor objects, including trashcans and patio furniture, should be brought indoors or tied down. Homeowners should clear their property of debris that could damage buildings in strong winds. Finally, cars should be stored in the garage.
Residents who do not live in designated storm-surge zones should prepare shelter inside their homes. Residents who live well inland of storm-surge zones may not have to evacuate. However, they should protect their homes and gather enough supplies to last themselves and their families for three days after the storm makes landfall.
Secure Outdoor Property and Homes:
While some areas may not be in the direct path of the storm, property in those areas could sustain major damage due to high winds and heavy rains. It is recommended that all nearby residents protect their homes by boarding the windows and clearing the yard of loose branches and other debris.
This may be the final opportunity to gather supplies from local grocery stores. All residents should have an emergency kit with bottled water, precooked, nonperishable foods, flash lights, a battery-powered radio and paper goods.
It is also important to keep ice on hand in case the power fails. Candles are not recommended for safety reasons.
Prepare An Emergency Kit:
To prepare for a hurricane or any disaster, it is best to have an emergency kit available. This kit should contain nonperishable food, water (one gallon/person/day) and clothing to sustain each family member for three days. It might take that long for rescue workers to reach your area.
The kit should also include a flashlight, radio and spare batteries. Blankets, rain gear and appropriate footwear also are recommended. Special considerations must be made for the young or disabled. Remember to include baby food and medicines as appropriate. In addition, the kit should include photo copies of important family documents, such as birth certificates and insurance policies.
It is imperative that the kit be complete and ready so that in a disaster the family knows that all of its needs will be met during the ordeal.
Water -- 1 gallon per person per day (a week's supply of water is preferable)
Water purification kit or bleach,
First aid kit and first aid book
Pre-cooked, non-perishable foods, such as canned meats, granola bars, instant soup and cereals, toys, etc.
Baby supplies:formula, bottle, pacifier, soap, baby powder, clothing, blankets, baby wipes, disposable diapers, canned food and juices
Non-electric can opener
Anti-bacterial hand wipes or gel
Blanket or sleeping bag per person
Portable radio or portable TV and extra batteries
Flashlight and extra batteries
Extra pair of eyeglasses
Extra house and car keys
Fire extinguisher -- ABC-type
Food, water, leash and carrier for pets
Cash and change
Seasonal change of clothing, including sturdy shoes
Large plastic trash bags for waste, tarps and rain ponchos
Large trash cans
Bar soap and liquid detergent, shampoo
Toothpaste and toothbrushes
Feminine hygiene supplies