Update Sept. 3rd: 4 PM
Governor Roy Cooper has issued a mandatory evacuation order for all NC barrier islands beginning at 8:00 a.m. on Wednesday, September 4, 2019. This includes Holden Beach.
Hurricane Dorian previously a Category 5 storm and has continued to weaken to a Category 3 storm as of Tuesday morning.
According to the National Hurricane Center (NHC), Hurricane Dorian is moving much slower than originally anticipated, stalling over the Grand Bahama Islands.
The storm is still on track to make its way towards the North Carolina Coast and according to forecasting, tropical-storm-force winds can be expected Late Wednesday into Thursday morning.
The system should continue to turn to the north with a gradual increase in forward-moving speed as it loses strength in around 48 hours. Later in the period, the cyclone should accelerate northeastward on the southern side of the trough. The official track forecast is similar to the previous one and is fairly close to the model consensus, according to the NHC.
No matter the projected track of the storm takes residents along the North and South Carolina coasts are being encouraged to prepare for the storm.
Hurricane Dorian remains a category 5 storm and for the time being, has come to a near standstill hovering over the Bahamas. Predictions continue to call fora northerly turn later this week and it is expected to head on a course towards the Cape Fear Region.
On Sunday, Dorian’s maximum sustained winds reached 185 mph (297 kph), with gusts up to 220 mph (354 kph), tying the record for the most powerful Atlantic hurricane to ever make landfall.
This morning (Monday Sept. 1) winds have dropped to 165 mph however, even with this 20 mph drop in windspeed Dorian remains a category 5 storm.
And forecasts have changed very little in regards to the future path of the storm meaning an impact on North Carolina is likely.
Most models are showing the eyeball staying just off the NC Coast, however, the slightest shift in course could bring it ashore in our region.
According to the latest model, Dorian is likely to start impacting the Cape Fear Region on Thursday night and heading into Friday, however, tropical-storm-force winds could be felt as early as Wednesday.
The National Weather Service’s Wilmington office is closely monitoring Dorian.
Their office has said that the potential for flooding rain, storm surge and damaging winds has been increasing, however, it is still too early to forecast how the storm may impact the area.
North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper declared an official state of emergency for North Carolina on Saturday night.
In a news conference Sunday, Cooper stated that he had been in touch with President Donald Trump and with the leaders of neighboring states in advance of the storm.
His office has also been coordinating with FEMA.
“To the people of our state, particularly those who live in Southeastern North Carolina that has been battered by two strong hurricanes in less than three years, please know this we are with you,” Cooper said. “State and local emergency management and first responders are watching out for you. I continue to be amazed by the resilience and dedication and caring spirit of North Carolinians, and whatever comes, we will be ready.”
Mike Sprayberry, the state’s director of emergency management, said the N.C. Department of Transportation was suspending construction projects on state evacuation routes ahead of the storm.
Brunswick County announced Sunday it was considering the possibility of opening emergency shelters this week.
“At this time, Brunswick County Emergency Services is preparing to potentially open shelters should the projected path of Hurricane Dorian continue to track toward the county,” the release stated. “Information about open shelter locations will be posted on this webpage and shared on the County’s social media channels.”
Preparing for a hurricane is important whether Dorian impacts our region or not.
Here are some tips to help you to prepare in case of an emergency situation:
Document your belongings for insurance.
FEMA recommends both homeowners and renters document and photograph their property in case insurance claims are necessary. This is not something you want to be doing during an emergency.
Prepare an Emergency Kit
Basic items like toilet paper, first-aid kits, non-perishable food, and bottled water can be assembled any time, no need to wait for a storm to hit. Read more about what the Department of Homeland Security’s Ready.gov considers key items go put in a “disaster supply kit’ here.
Assemble important documents
Now is a good time to collect and make copies of crucial documents: marriage licenses, social security cards, titles, deeds, wills, etc. Make sure documents are stored in water-proof containers.
Take out cash
In the event of power outages or loss of telecommunication systems, credit and debit cards won’t work and ATMs may be out. Having enough cash on hand for fueling up your car or a night in a hotel could make a big difference.
Make a plan
When a storm hits, communication can get difficult in a hurry. Make a plan with friends and family in case you get separated or can’t get in touch; plan a place and time to meet. Get more tips for making a plan at ready.gov.
Register for Code Red
Code Red allows county-based emergency services to contact you by text-message and email. Registration only takes a few minutes, but it’s not the kind of thing you want to be doing in an emergency — and it Code Red provides useful information leading up to a major storm.
In addition to emergency weather information, Code Red can also provide local health alerts (such as mosquito spraying and water boil advisories) and community updates (like missing persons alerts). You can register for the Code Red in Brunswick County here.
Special Needs registration
These are county databases of residents who cannot easily leave their homes, such as those reliant on oxygen or life-support systems and those with physical disabilities that would make evacuation difficult or impossible on their own. The information is kept confidential by emergency management agencies and is only used to direct first-responders to those in need during extreme weather or other emergency situations.
Some counties have online registration, whereas in New Hanover registration is by mail. But it’s always worth registering ahead of time to make sure emergency response teams can get help to you or your loved ones in time. At present, Pender County does not have a registry, but anyone with mobility concerns can contact Special Needs Coordinator Shirley Steele at 910-259-1207.
• Brunswick County (online)
There are some easy preparations you can do now to make sheltering or evacuation with your pet easier.
• Make sure you have up to date medical information for your pet(s).
• Make sure rabies and identification tags are up to date with contact info and an address.
• Have a current photo of your pet(s).
• If you think evacuation might be necessary, call ahead (or search online) for pet-friendly hotels. Many travel and lodging sites now allow users to search for this option.
• Know which county shelters are pet-friendly. Most county shelters accept only cats and dogs, not exotic animals. This information will sometimes change, so it’s worth checking ahead and again before evacuating or seeking shelter.