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Governor, county commissioners declare a state of emergency as Hurricane Dorian advances; ocean fatality on Hatteras

The surf is strong Sunday, Sept. 1, at South Point. Photo: C. Leinbach

Sept. 1, 2019; 9:30 p.m.

Editor’s note: Hurricane Dorian, unlike its painfully slow speed, is a fast moving story and will be updated frequently.  To follow the news, click here.

From our news sources

The Hyde County Board of Commissioners have enacted a State of Emergency this evening in advance of Hurricane Dorian that will go into effect on Monday (Sept. 2) at 5 a.m. Local officials will meet again on Monday at 1 p.m. to discuss the forecast and any additional emergency protective measures necessitated by the weather conditions.

Donnie Shumate, Hyde County public information officer, said the state of emergency allows the emergency crews to do what they have to do.

Given the current forecast for Hurricane Dorian, the NCDOT Ferry Division has announced that Monday will be the last day the passenger ferry “Ocracoke Express” will be in operation this season.  The early discontinuation of service will allow the vessel to embark to safe harbor long before the arrival of adverse conditions.

This follows Gov. Roy Cooper’s declaration of  a state of emergency in North Carolina earlier today. He urged North Carolinians to pay close attention to Hurricane Dorian and make sure they are ready for its possible impacts expected by Wednesday.

“North Carolina has endured flooding from two strong hurricanes in less than three years,” Cooper said in a statement. “Now is the time to prepare for Dorian. To the people of North Carolina, particularly those still recovering in the eastern part of our state, we are working hard to prepare, and we are with you.”

The Category 5 storm, with sustained winds of 185 mph Sunday afternoon and evening, has risen to the top of the charts among the most powerful tropical systems ever observed in the Atlantic Ocean, according to the Washington Post.  The northwestern Bahamas are still taking the brunt of the slow-moving storm which slammed into the Abacos islands Sunday morning.

Mandatory evacuations for coastal areas of Florida and South Carolina have been declared and Georgia will follow on Monday. 

The National Park Service reported this evening that a 61-year-old male from Virginia died in the ocean near Hatteras Village.

Justin Gibbs, Hyde County’s emergency services director, issued a statement this afternoon that local advisory committees and public officials are receiving regular briefings to assess the threat to Hyde County. There have not been any official announcements regarding Dorian.

The latest National Hurricane Center forecast puts the storm off the North Carolina coast on Thursday morning. The state would begin feeling the storm’s winds and rains on Wednesday. 

State emergency officials are preparing for Dorian by coordinating with FEMA, surrounding states and local governments so that personnel and equipment are ready to respond. 

North Carolina Emergency Management Director Mike Sprayberry explained that the state has water rescue teams, sheltering teams, supplies and many other resources staged and ready for the storm.

The State of Emergency is for all 100 counties, which allows state resources to be mobilized and lets the state and local governments seek federal aid. He also signed two transportation waivers, one so that relief supplies and utility vehicles can move within the state, and another to help North Carolina farmers harvest and transport crops and livestock quickly. 

To prepare, residents should be sure they: 

  • Have multiple ways to receive weather information from reliable sources, 
  • Know your evacuation routes and review your emergency plan, 
  • Stock an emergency supply kit, which should contain food, water, prescription medicines, charging cords, batteries, and other essentials to support your family for several days 
  • Make sure your insurance is up to date.

For more information on how to ensure your family is disaster ready, go to ReadyNC.org or download the free ReadyNC app, which features traffic, power outage and shelter information.

The National Weather Service out of Newport/Morehead City said this evening (Sept. 1) that the threat for a prolonged period of heavy rainfall across eastern North Carolina continues to increase, regardless of the track of Hurricane Dorian.

Conversely, while the probability of tropical storm-force winds has also increased, details on the wind and storm surge threats remain uncertain and highly track-dependent, said Erik Heden with the local NWS.  Dorian is likely to increase in size as the storm moves northward, which mean impacts occur well away from the center. 

Dangerous widespread surf conditions and hazardous seas, including rip currents, will continue into next weekend.

For National Hurricane Center information, click here.