After days in anticipation, evacuations and preparations, Hurricane Irene hits North Carolina. The most recent National Hurricane Center update has Irene as a Category 2 storm with its maximum sustained winds at 100 mph and a Saturday morning landfall near Morehead City.
Irene will have a devastating impact to the Outer Banks and the Coastal region, and it’s important to prepare for bad weather. A hurricane warning is in effect for the entire North Carolina coastline. Johnston County is under a flash flood warning until noon Saturday with heavy rain and potentially tropical storm force wind gusts.
Smithfield-Selma High School in Smithfield will be opened as a shelter for evacuees from the coast.
As N.C. prepares for Hurricane Irene, this informative National Weather Service guide provides the following tips:
During the storm
- Closely monitor radio, TV or NOAA Weather Radio All Hazards for official bulletins.
- Fuel and service family vehicles.
- Ensure you have extra cash on hand.
- Prepare to cover all windows and doors with shutters or other shielding materials.
- Check batteries and stock up on canned food, first aid supplies, drinking water and medications.
- Bring in light-weight objects such as garbage cans, garden tools, toys and lawn furniture.
- Close storm shutters.
- Follow instructions issued by local officials. Leave immediately if instructed.
- DO NOT stay in a mobile or manufactured home.
After the storm
- Watch for closed roads. If you come upon a barricade or a flooded road, turn around and take another route.
- Stay on firm, dry ground. Moving water only 6 inches deep can sweep you off your feet.
- If using a generator, follow instructions to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning.
With a major storm bearing hitting the Carolina coastline, it’s essential that residents are tracking the storm in N.C. now. You can join others in N.C. tracking the hurricane at the National Hurricane Center’s website.
Hurricane season falls from June 1 to November 30 with peak season from mid-August to late October, and by knowing how you might be vulnerable and what actions you should take, you can protect yourself and your family should a hurricane hit.