Be prepared to weather Hurricane FlorenceBy Yasmine Regester / September 13, 2018
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While East Greensboro is still recovering from a tornado on April 15 that destroyed homes, businesses and schools, the whole city is preparing for another natural disaster.
Hurricane Florence, currently a category 4 storm with maximum sustained winds of 130 mph, is scheduled to make landfall in the Carolinas as early as Thursday, September 13. Experts say that Florence will have a significant impact on coastal and inland areas.
The Atlantic Hurricane Season runs from June 1 to November 30 with the peak season from mid-August to late October. The Piedmont should plan on seeing winds of 40-60 mph, and anywhere from four to 10 inches of rain is expected. Forecast models have predicted that Florence may stall over land and bring heavy rainfall throughout Friday. The storm is expected to start to move out of the area by Saturday.
Greensboro Mayor Nancy Vaughan urged residents to prepare for possible impacts of the storm such as major flooding and power outages. She also tweeted that the City of Greensboro’s water system would be fine throughout the storm.
“If you are on city water there is no reason to buy bottled water. Our system is reliable and well prepared. It is designed to operate during and after the storm,” Vaughan tweeted.
States of emergency have been declared in North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia, with South Carolina ordering an evacuation of about one million residents along the state’s coastline.
Weather experts are calling this storm unprecedented for the Carolinas and predict that it has the potential to join the ranks of the costliest natural disasters in the history of the United States. Florence is being compared to two other storms that devastated North Carolina in the last 30 years. Hurricane Hugo in 1989, which had winds of 120 mph and cost the state $2 billion in damages, and Hurricane Fran, which was a category 3 storm that devastated the state in September 1996. Fourteen people in N.C. lost their lives in Hurricane Fran and the storm left a little more than $2.4 billion in damages.
To Prepare for a Hurricane:
- Be prepared for extended power outages as a possibility: Have candles, batteries or a generator. Never run a portable generator indoors or in partially enclosed spaces.
- Where is the nearest flood zone or nearest area where water rises quickly? Have a plan to get out if needed. If authorities require evacuation, do so promptly.
- Make sure all medications and First Aid kits are on hand.
- Stock water and non-perishable food items.
- Build an emergency kit: food, water, medicine, flashlight, blanket or sleeping bag, change of clothing, toiletries, important documents, fire extinguisher, extra house and car keys.
- Make a family emergency plan so members know what to do and where to meet if separated.
- Monitor the weather reports, listening every hour as the storm approaches.
- Put fuel in all vehicles and withdraw some cash from the bank. Gas stations and ATMs may be closed after a hurricane.
- If evacuating, be alert to flooded or washed-out roads. Just a few inches of water can float a car. Remember: Turn Around, Don’t Drown.
- Keep a photo I.D. that shows home address. This may become important when asking law enforcement for permission to re-enter the neighborhood.
- Secure property: Bring inside all outdoor furniture, decorations, garbage cans and anything else that is not tied down.
- Cover windows with permanent storm shutters or board up windows with 5/8” plywood, cut and ready to install. Tape does not prevent windows from breaking.
- Trim trees and shrubs around the home so they are more wind resistant.
- Clear clogged rain gutters and downspouts.
- Reinforce garage doors; if wind enters a garage it can cause dangerous and expensive structural damage.
- Do not go outside until it has been declared all clear by weather experts or city officials.
The Interactive Resource Center, the homeless day shelter on Washington Street will be open for shelter through Saturday. To find shelter in your area, text your zip code + SHELTER to 4FEMA (43362).
To get local public safety updates, residents can use the Guilford Emergency Alert, Notification and Information System or ‘GEANI’ at www.readyguilford.com.