Hurricanes

2K evacuees, 1,500 emergency responders: DOT prepares for Florence

Posted September 12, 2018 5:08 p.m. EDT
Updated September 12, 2018 5:40 p.m. EDT

— The North Carolina Department of Transportation on Tuesday was helping to evacuate coastal residents and preparing emergency supplies ahead of Hurricane Florence’s arrival.

According to the DOT, more than 2,100 people and 1,074 vehicles had been evacuated from Ocracoke Island, Cedar Island and Swan Quarter. Following the final ferry departure Wednesday morning, all operations have been suspended and ferries will be secured until weather conditions improve.

Although Florence’s landfall is still at least a day away, DOT officials said staff members in all 100 North Carolina counties are prepared for the cleanup effort that will follow the storm.

More than 150 staff members in counties that are expected to feel the brunt of the storm, including Duplin, New Hanover, Onslow and Sampson, are ready with 63 chainsaws, 8 front-loaders, 11 backhoes, 610 barricades, 230 road closure signs and 783 high water signs.

DOT officials said contractors are on standby to respond to storm-related tasks and have staged equipment in different areas to have supplies available when cleanup and recovery begins.

About 1,500 federal and state emergency response personnel and military crews from across the nation were stationed Wednesday afternoon at the Global TransPark in Kinston, which will serve as headquarters for emergency rescue and response operations in Eastern North Carolina. Those crews will be deployed to clear roads and conduct rescues on water and land.

The Kinston facility is also housing emergency supplies, including boats, planes, meals and medical supplies.

The North Carolina State Highway Patrol was also preparing Wednesday for emergency responses to Florence.

Urban search and rescue teams, medics, ambulance strike teams, swift water rescue teams and members of the National Guard from North Carolina, Indiana, Vermont, Florida and Tennessee had gathered just south of Raleigh.