State seeks federal disaster declaration ahead of historic Hurricane Florence

Published 8:00 am Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Gov. Roy Cooper asked Monday for a federal disaster declaration on behalf of North Carolina to ensure the state can get federal aid as soon as possible.

In a letter sent Monday morning to President Donald Trump, Cooper made the request for federal help due to Hurricane Florence, which is forecast to hit the state as an unprecedented hurricane later this week.

With forecasts showing Florence bearing down on North Carolina and intensifying in strength, Cooper urged North Carolina residents, businesses and visitors to take the threat posed by Hurricane Florence seriously, plan accordingly and get ready now.

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“The forecast places North Carolina in the bull’s eye of Hurricane Florence, and the storm is rapidly getting stronger,” Cooper said. “When weather forecasters tell us ‘life threatening,’ we know it’s serious. We are bracing for a hard hit.”

As the forecast becomes clearer, Florence poses three challenges: coastal storm surge, strong winds and inland flooding that inundates rivers and low-lying ground, Cooper said.

Florence is a rapidly strengthening hurricane that may make landfall between Southport and Wilmington as early as sometime Friday morning. Tropical storm level winds may be felt as early as Wednesday.

The forecast shows the potential for very heavy rainfall across much of North Carolina. 

“Florence is a threat well beyond the coast, so inland counties need to be ready as well,” Cooper said.

State officials continue to prepare for potential impacts from a major hurricane later this week.

“We are working closely with the National Hurricane Center and FEMA and our other partners, and leveraging that wealth of experience to ensure we can respond to any need,” said state Emergency Management Director Mike Sprayberry. “We are also working closely with our county and SERT partners to ensure all resource requests are met. We ask the public to stay tuned to local forecasts and follow instructions from your local emergency officials and to have a plan for yourself and your family members, including your pets.”

People may download the Ready NC app or follow NC Emergency Management on Facebook and Twitter for weather updates, and to learn how they can prepare for the storm.

– Submitted article