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Emergency Management Officials Serious About Storm Strategy

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RALEIGH — Emergency management teams are getting serious about their strategy for Hurricane Bonnie. After making big changes at their Raleigh command post, officials are planning for the worst.

Workers representing dozens of state agencies, FEMA, law enforcement and other emergency personnel watch, talk and plan as Bonnie approaches. In the past, all worked out of a single basement room. Now, they are scattered in smaller rooms, all able to keep up using telephones and computers.

It is where the state's efforts are coordinated. The talk Tuesday is about evacuations and plans to open emergency shelters. It's an around the clock effort. Evacuations around the coast are underway.

"We could have some congestion by people moving out late," says emergency official Andy James. "Some people may have trouble getting gas if they wait too long to fuel up their cars to get out. They don't need to go to the grocery stores down there. They just need to pull on out and go. There are at least 200,000 people down there. There are still late season vacationers down there."

From here, organizers are marshalling equipment in Kinston in case it is needed.

"We're trying to see if we can have a local operations area that can respond more quickly with the equipment and personnel that we feel like we will need or could need, based on the experience we had with Fran," James explains.

James says so far, everything is going very smoothly both in Raleigh and around the state. Emergency management officials will be working around the clock until Bonnie is no longer a threat to North Carolina.


Tom Lawrence, Reporter
Rick Armstrong, Photographer
Kerrie Hudzinski, Web Editor

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