As Florence continues bringing floods, power outages and downed trees further inland, Governor Roy Cooper today signed Executive Order No. 55, helping temporary housing, generators and trucks get to affected parts of North Carolina more quickly.
Governor Roy Cooper is urging people to remain in safe shelter and be alert to advice from emergency professionals. Hazardous conditions caused by Florence have already taken three lives, and several additional deaths are under investigation.
“This loss of life is devastating and the friends and families of the victims remain in our prayers,” Gov. Cooper said. “The fact is this storm is deadly. And we know we are days away from it ending.”
As the storm moves across the state, Cooper reminded North Carolinians to follow simple safety tips:
• Stay indoors and away from windows and glass doors during the storm.
• Never drive through standing or moving water.
• Never operate a generator indoors.
• Stay alert and listen to the radio for warnings about wind, tornadoes, rising water, or orders to shut off gas, water and power.
• Don’t fly drones in affected areas, as this can impede the efforts of rescue helicopters.
Florence’s torrential rains have already made many roads impassable and road conditions are expected to continue to deteriorate. Swift water rescue teams and other first responders have rescued hundreds of people from New Bern and flooded areas along the coast are being searched by the Coast Guard and other teams.
The Cape Fear and Lumber Rivers are forecast to rise as high or even higher than in Hurricane Matthew, causing floods that could devastate communities. Earlier today, the governor issued an order to allow for sandbagging in the Lumberton area which may help reduce the impacts.
More flooding is expected in eastern North Carolina as well as areas from Fayetteville through the Sandhills to Charlotte, according to the National Weather Service. This includes areas that haven’t flooded previously. Rains will also be starting this weekend in western North Carolina, where they could lead to landslides.
“Stay alert for flood warnings,” Gov. Cooper said. “And if you’re asked to evacuate, go.”
As of about 6 PM Friday, Duke Energy, Dominion, and electric cooperatives reported that nearly 770,000 North Carolinians were without power statewide. Utilities have estimated that as many as 1 – 2.5 million North Carolinians could eventually be without power as a result of Florence.
Dozens of roads in eastern North Carolina are flooded or impassable due to fallen trees or power lines. Road conditions likely to worsen quickly as the storm moves across the state.
For the latest traffic conditions and road closures, visit DriveNC.gov.
More than 22,600 people are staying in 150 shelters statewide, including schools, churches, , and Wake Forest University’s basketball arena. UNC – Chapel Hill will open a mass shelter on its campus tomorrow. State and local emergency management officials are working to set up even more shelters to provide housing for North Carolinians as needs arise.
2-1-1 Call Line Open 24/7 for People in Need of Help
The statewide information line can provide callers with nearby shelter, housing and other storm-related details. Dial 2-1-1 or 888-892-1162 or text FLORENCE to 898211. The information line is staffed around the clock and ready to connect North Carolinians to storm resources.
The Governor’s Office has activated the North Carolina Disaster Relief Fund, which has been used in previous disasters, to accept donations to support North Carolina’s response to Hurricane Florence. To donate, visit rebuild.nc.gov or text FLORENCE to 20222.