By WECT Staff | August 2, 2020 at 10:20 AM EDT – Updated August 2 at 6:37 PM
WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) – Governor Roy Cooper is giving an update on state preparations ahead of Tropical Storm Isaias.
While the storm has been downgraded from a hurricane to a tropical storm, Cooper urges residents to continue to be vigilant and prepare for the storm as threats from wind and water are still possible.
“Just because Isaias is now categorized as a tropical storm doesn’t change its potential threat. The storm continued its march toward North Carolina overnight. State emergency managers along with our local partners are preparing for the heavy winds and rain this storm may bring,” Cooper said.
Those who need to evacuate should go inland to stay with friends or family, if possible, Cooper said. The next best option would be a hotel or motel, if residents can afford one, he said. Emergency shelters will also be available, although they will be operating slightly different than usual due to COVID-19.
“Our state has weathered more than our fair share of storms. We know how to plan, prepare & respond when it’s over. Nothing about that has changed. But this time, we’re gonna do it with a mask on. Helping your neighbors & loved ones is even more important as this storm approaches,” Cooper said.
“Shelters will be screening people for coronavirus symptoms. If someone has symptoms, they will be directed to a sheltering option where they can more easily isolate or receive medical attention.”
Preparation before a storm is key, but with the current pandemic, preparations might look a bit different as well.
“We in North Carolina mostly know what to do: Pack your emergency kit. Follow local evacuation orders. Stay in a safe place. And never drive through flooded roadways. But this time, pack your masks and hand sanitizer in your kit and follow the Three W’s – wash, wear and wait,” Cooper said.
Flash flooding and heavy rainfall are some of the biggest concerns of state officials.
“The forecast has the storm moving quickly, which we hope means the rain and wind won’t last as long. But a lot of rain is expected to fall at once, so be on alert for flash flooding and river flooding. We’re coordinating with utility companies which expect widespread outages,” Cooper said.
Approximately 100 swift water technicians have been put on standby from the western part of the state along with around 20 Zodiac boats if needed.
“Over the weekend, the storm turned more inland, which increases the threat of heavy rain, tornadoes and flash flooding in eastern North Carolina. Right now, we expect the heaviest rain along the I-95 corridor with as much as seven inches in some places,” Cooper said.
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