Gov. Cooper, emergency management update NC's preparations for Isaias
State leaders detail the preparations being made for heavy rain, high winds and storm surge expected tonight from Tropical Storm Isaias. Tune in to WRAL-TV to watch.
for the latest updates on ESA es as it continues to approach North Carolina as the storm closes in, we expected to increase in intensity. There's a potential for dangerous hurricane force winds as it makes its way toward landfall later tonight. That means we must be on high alert. This storm will bring dangerous weather conditions. Too much of our state overnight heavy rains, flash floods and storm surge can quickly inundate low lying areas, stay inside during the heavy winds and watch for tornadoes. Hurricane warnings have been issued in three North Carolina counties, Pender, Brunswick and New Hanover. Tropical storm warnings and watches have been issued for much of eastern and central North Carolina. Pay attention to these warnings and secure your home and belongings have a way to stay informed, particularly since the storm will sweep through at night. As we've cautioned before, the status or category of a storm convene misleading. Whether it's labeled a tropical storm or a hurricane, you should take this storm seriously and make sure your family is ready. That means taking care of your pets, too. This storm threatens our coastline with storm surge and damaging winds, but the inland areas are also at risk. Be prepared for a lot of rain as much as seven inches In some places, the rain, combined with high winds, can lead to flooding down trees and downed power lines. And make sure you're ready with supplies, flashlights and things in case you lose power. And remember, never drive through flooded roads as little as 18 inches can sweep a caraway. We've lost too many lives after these storms because of people trying to drive through water. We have deployed water, rescue, transportation and emergency workers to the eastern part of the state. I have talked with the United States Coast Guard leadership, and they're standing by to help. Along with our North Carolina National Guard, health care workers are preparing to assist at a medical shelter. If it's Nate needed Swiftwater rescue teams, high water vehicles and helicopters air standing by and have been strategically positioned. State and local officials continue to be on the ready and director Spray Berry will discuss more of those preparations, listen to local officials and follow any evacuation orders that you get when they're issued. If you were told to evacuate, the most important thing to do is get out of the danger zone. First, plan to stay with family or friends, and if that doesn't work, ah hotel is the next option if you can afford it, but no shelters will be available for those who need them. Visit your county government website or call 211 for instructions on sheltering options. Shelters will screen people for Corona virus symptoms. If someone has Cove in 19 or shows symptoms, they will be directed to a sheltering option for isolation or medical attention. Shelters will have PPE and will honor social distancing. Now I know that North Carolinians have had to dig deep in recent months. That happened to our strength and resilience during the pandemic, and that hasn't been easy. But with this storm on the way, we have to dig a little deeper. Let's keep each other safe from the wind and water as well as from the virus. As this storm arrives in just a few hours, remember the power that comes from helping one another? We're all better off when we work together. I'd like to ask our director of emergency management, Mike Spray Berry to share an update with us. Mike Thank you, Governor. And thank you for your leadership. Today is 1 47 of the cove in 19 response at the State Emergency Operations Center and his Day four of the East I s of activation. Today we finalized all of our preparations for the storm's arrival into the state, which will occur later tonight. North Carolina residents should have completed their personal preparations as well. If you're still making last minute preparations, visit ready and see dot org's for guidance on personal preparedness as well as defined current shelter locations. We continue to coordinate closely with our counties as they make final preparations for the storm's arrival and to support any resource needs. They're now opening up their EO sees and shelters. The search has 142 motivated North Carolina National Guard soldiers and airman staged at locations in central and eastern North Carolina. Ready to respond is needed. Highly trained swift water rescue teams with Zodiac boats and also aviation assets are also at the ready at multiple locations. Other state partners, such as the State Highway Patrol and the Department of Transportation, have resource is either embedded with our county partners or stage to decisively move and to impacted communities. The power companies are expecting widespread power outages, and they have crews ready to begin restoration as soon as he zaius passes. If your power goes out, remember these safety tips. Don't use a generator or grill in your home or garage. They generate carbon monoxide fumes. It can be deadly. Use flashlights or battery powered lights instead of candles. Charge your cell phones and other devices now before the power goes out. If cellphone networks are degraded, remember that a text message will often go through when a phone call will not. As this storm moves in this evening and overnight, be prepared for power outages and the possibility of flooding. This will be true for areas along the coast as well as inland along the coast. Storm surge will be a significant threat, particularly in Brunswick and New Hanover County's. Make sure you have a way to receive weather alerts that will alert you overnight, like a weather radio or smartphone app. This is especially important if you live in a flood prone area. You can also use the state's flood inundation, mapping and alert network to let you know when rivers, streams or coastal waters near you are rising to flood levels. That's Feinman. N c dot gov. Again, that's if I m 1,000,000 dot n c dot gov to learn about flooding in your area. Stay off the roads tonight unless you absolutely need to travel or order to evacuate. Hazards like flooded roads and down trees and power lines will be difficult to see in the rain and darkness. If ordered to evacuate by your local officials, evacuate promptly as directly. Don't let concerns about Cove in 19 preventer evacuation. Evacuate the shortest distance possible to get out of the impacted area. Try to stay with family, friends or hotel to minimize contact with others during this pandemic. If these options are not available, go to a shelter. Remember, if told to evacuate, don't hesitate. If you live in a safe place inland, please do your part and offered. Let family or friends evacuate to your home. Both non congregant and Congress shelters are available for evacuees who requires sheltering. Look to your county government website and social media channels for sheltering instructions for your county. Local governments and the American Red Cross have helped screening physical distancing and cleaning protocols in place in shelters to prevent the spread of the cove in 19 virus. The new Know Your Zone program is also in effect. 20 coastal counties have developed coastal evacuation zones based on areas most at risk due to storm surge and river flooding. Visit know your zone dot n c dot gov to see if you live in one of these evacuation zones and listen for it If evacuations are ordered. Being aware and prepared is the key to staying safe during CCS and through the rest of the hurricane season. We need each of you to remain vigilant tonight as this storm begins to impact us and to not become complacent about the potential impacts of this event. And don't forget to observe the three W's where face covering, wait six feet apart and wash your hands to stop the spread of Cove in 19. As always, don't forget to look out for your family, friends and neighbors during the pandemic and say yes, call your loved ones today to make sure they're ready. I guarantee they'll appreciate it. What kindness and cooperation will all get through this together as one team, one mission and one family. Thank you, Governor. Thank you. Direct spray. Bury all male handed over to our secretary of the Department of Transportation, Eric Boy yet to provide an update on their preparation. Eric. Thank you, Governor. All of our staff are prepared and ready to respond to this storm. We have sent home or maintenance crews so that they can wrist do what they need to do for their personal homes and prepare to work later tonight and tomorrow. We have more than 2200 highway personnel ready to respond to this storm. We've repositioned and pre a pre positioned equipment, materials and road barricades so that we're ready to go. Fairies have complete their evacuation efforts on okra coat. We've evacuated over 1700 vehicles. 3500 people from Oka coke since Friday. We were completed. Suspension of all of our coastal ferries by five oclock today. We will be more in those vessels today to make sure they're safe during the storm as it passes. As of today, the ports of Morehead and Women Ting are fully secure and closed commercial activity. I would like to remind everyone in the path of this storm please take this storm seriously. This storm is forecast to have heavy wearing heavy winds and flooding in each of North Carolina late tonight and through midday Tuesday. People should avoid traveling in areas where flooding. How order There are critically low lying areas prone to flooding. Don't attempt to travel is the storm is passing through North Carolina on Tuesday. We will be working very hard to restore them ability as quick as possible, but our safety is our first priority. Even after the storm has passed. Please remember to follow these rules. Never drive around a barricade. When the road is safe, we will open it back up, never drive through water and please visit drive. N c dot gov for the latest road conditions. Thank you, Secretary boy. Yet I'd now like to recognize Colonel Glenn McNeill, the commander of the North Carolina State Highway Patrol Colonel mania. Thank you, Governor. The Highway Patrol continues to work with our state and local partners as we all continue to monitor the storm's path. Troopers are strategically positioned across the state, ready to respond at a moment's notice to impacted areas affected by the storm as the storm makes landfall roadway conditions within the impacted areas will diminish quickly. This will make travel in certain portions of our state very dangerous. Flash flooding down trees and power lines and high winds are to be expected throughout the night. As in past storms, our message is very clear. Please do not attempt to drive through floodwaters. The decision to do so could lead to tragic circumstances and has contributed to several deaths during previous storm events. For those who must travel overnight into the morning hours, please reduce your speed. Remain aware of the potential roadway hazards. Once again, please do not drive through floodwaters and around barricades the public and stay informed of local roadway conditions by visiting dr insead dot gov also star HP and 911 should be contacted for emergency purposes only. Please remember that your safety remains our states and our governors in our agency's highest priority. Thank you, Governor. Thank you, Colonel McNeil. We are grateful for those courageous troopers out there. I'd now like to recognize Major General Todd Hunt, the adage in general of the North Carolina National Guard General Hunt. Thank you, governor. And before I begin, I would like to personally thank the men and women of the North Killer National Guard who since March have been supporting Cove in 19 relief. I want to thank you for yourself a service. So as previously mentioned, we're currently authorized 150 soldiers and airman in for duty to support the storm. This approaching were deployed into six different locations, and our citizen soldiers and airmen deployed yesterday to integrate with our Department of Public Safety and local officials at these locations, the locations that were currently located at our Kinston, Elizabethtown, William Stone, Eatonton, Clayton and Marksville. We're currently capable of providing a variety of support, with the most important one being lifesaving measures and operations within the 1st 24 to 48 hours, followed by logistic support and then commodity distribution. We currently have 41 vehicles. Some of these vehicles can take high water. We also have communications equipment, own hand warehouse specialist for warehouse operations and medical support for those communities that will require that as part of the DPS enterprise, we are ready to support. And I would again like to think that our citizen soldiers and airman and their families for answering the call as the guardians of North Carolina. Thank you, Governor. Thank you, General Hunt. We're grateful for our National Guard soldiers, their service overseas. Some of them just got back home on. We're grateful for the work that they have provided us during the pandemic will now take questions from the media. If you can identify yourself and your organization first, please. And we'll take the first question. Our first question is someone Bonner with the news and observer. Thank you for taking my question. This is when Bonner from the News and Observer with the storm expected to make landfall tonight, are you aware of any plans to evacuated in advance of people aren't living in the dark. There have been some evacuations that have been already ordered by several local governments. I'll let our direct bribery tell us what he knows on that. Thank you, Governor. And thank you, Lynn. So right now we know that you know the Hatteras Island up in Dare county and okra Coke Island in Hyde County. And then several other municipalities have ordered evacuations. We don't know of any further evacuations at this time. There could be some more evacuations in the coming hours. But I would, uh I would think that you're not going to see too many more evacuations at this point due to the timing of this storm were expected to arrive as early as 8 p.m. Tonight with some tropical storm force winds in southeastern North Carolina, So probably will not be seeing too many more evacuations at this point. Thank you. Thank you. Next question. Police. Our next question is some. Whoa, my goal with W unc. Hi, Governor. Um, given Will Michael the delivery, UNC. Given that shelters are going to be observing social distancing, I would imagine that they are not going to be able to hold as many people as they usually would. Is that correct? And how are you all taking them into account? That is correct. And in fact, we want to make sure that each person has 115 square feet in the shelter. In order to be able to assure social distancing. There's also going to be pp hand sanitizer. Ah, and ah, lot of work to make sure that when you have people in a congregant sheltering like that that we don't spread the virus. This is one of the reasons why we are encouraging people to find places to stay with family or friends and then also encouraging them if they can't do one of those to stay at a hotel if they can afford it. But local government, along with our emergency management people, have worked very hard to identify a number of places where people can go recognizing that we're going to need more space with a shelter. And I think we are comfortable at this point that will have enough room for people and still be able to social distance. If this storm gets worse than their Mawr shelters, that we can open up inland, larger shelters that we can put in place like we did with Florence. But we believe that we can handle it thus far. Might you got anything Dad to that? Okay, next question. Police. Our next question was for Michael Highland with CBS 17. Hi, This is Michael Island from CBS 17. I wouldn't ask more broadly about hurricane season. Overall, with the anticipated budget shortfalls are state many other states are facing is that having any impact on planning for the rest of the season to ensure that we have the resources we need to respond to the event. We have multiple storms, we have compacts with other states and we work on sharing personnel and equipment. But we also want to make certain that in each circumstance that North Carolina has enough. I'll let Mike address to see what specific requests have been made thus far. Thank you, Governor. Thank you, sir. We have not made any requests from other states for resource is for PCs. And so we would anticipate that there could be some resource is that we might need for other storms, like urban search and rescue teams or perhaps mawr aviation assets. But we believe that we could get those assets. We think that basically the largest shorter's of assets in the nation, right in our medical assets, and I will tell you that we feel fairly comfortable right now with the amount of medical resource is that we have in our state. We do have a lot of resource is, as is evidenced by the fact that we already have a state medical support shelter. Already, it's been ah initiated, and it's standing up with the ambulance strike team out of her own resource is if we have something larger, we'll have to go back and perhaps sharpen our pencils and look it. Other place that we can draw a resource is within our own state. But we fit this time. I would say that we're pretty comfortable with the resource is that we have. Thank you, sir. Mike's getting pretty comfortable saying s I used to Ah. Next question, please. Our next question is from road Hoban with North Carolina Health News. Um, you partly answered my question about the medical shelters. So I'm assuming that is that the sandhill? Um uh, regional Medical Center. But, you know, I would be in knowing the number of shelters in the past that you would have set up and how that number is pain now, like how many more shelters you have? Um, the first around the state to accommodate for the need for social distancing. Most of the locals are putting at shelters now and have been over the last few days. And, Mike, I can probably give you a little bit of an inventory on that. Thank you, Governor. And thank you, Rose. So the way that it what's happening right now is our local partners. I've just gotten off some conference calls with our local counties. They're in the process of setting up shelters and what they'll do when those shelters are activated, they will let us know about it. But so right now it's Ah, it's a moving target and as it the number will grow, I'm sure throughout the day, um, you know we back during Florence, we opened a significant number of not just local shelters. But we did open several large shelters to support of the state and the counties as they came into our shelters. Right now we have the opportunity to shelter via the non congregate shelters, which we would put people in tow hotel rooms. And there's over 2000 of those rooms available right now. So we feel like between we do have an inventory of congregate sheltering locations as well as non congregate shelter. When the local government and jurisdictions are overwhelmed and their shelter and processes, that's when they call upon us. So that's the That's how emergency management works. The local governments. They're the first line of defense. They'll take care of the issues at their level when they need some assistance, they reach back up to the state, and then we step in. So right now, they're holding it pretty well on their own. And we're just gonna watch and see what transpires tonight, Aziza. Yes, Rose through the state. And then tomorrow, if we have people that had to evacuate suddenly, I think that will be well positioned to help those people out with additional sheltering options. Thank you, Rose. Next question. Police. We have a follow up. Rose Hope in North Carolina. Health news. Questioners asked about how the state budget, um shortfall, which we're not exactly sure what is going to be given get federal funds. But how is that changing form planning if it all, we always try to be extremely careful with taxpayer dollars. But I think taxpayers understand, too, that we have to be prepared for these storms. We have to be prepared to save people's lives. So we've got enough funding to make sure that we get that done. It's something that the Legislature makes as a priority. We're always careful about what we do and don't want to overspend. But at the same time, we've got to be prepared As I've said earlier, we want to be able to look back and say, My goodness, we over prepared because we don't want to come up short when these storms go through and people's lives are at stake. So we feel pretty good about where we are right now with with funding for this and we'll we'll do everything that we can to make sure that we meet the budget at the same time, keep people safe and healthy. Thanks. Next question. Our final question today will be from Richard Craver with the Winston Salem Journal. Yes, Governor, this is Richard Craver with Salem Journal. Reason I'm asking you in this setting is that, given what's supposed Teoh transpire in terms of Friday, with the base to restrictions is to delay or any kind of factor with the hurricane potentially delaying, um, intercom decision, you might make that you normally would make Tuesday Wednesday. That that's a good question. I think you always look at events where you potentially could have lots of people together and events that could potentially spread the virus. We're looking at those indicators that have been in place for a while. We're looking at when people get sick coming to the emergency room, seeing where that number is. Of course, the raw number of cases we look attire, percentage positives. We look at our hospital beds and the availability of all of that and will be a making will be making an announcement this week. Probably Wednesday on that executive order. And a lot of other factors will take place. Okay, We will probably come back and talk with you again tomorrow after the storm hopefully has moved through North Carolina. Please stay safe tonight. Aziz, The director said Try not to drive out tonight if you can. If you can stay home while the storm is moving through our state and we will be ready for it tonight. Thank you very much.