LUMBERTON — With passing of Hurricane Isaias, Robeson County residents now must keep an eye on the Lumber River and prepare for the possibility of flooding.
The storm was expected to dump between 3 and 4 inches of rain on the county between Monday evening and early Tuesday morning, Tim Armstrong, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service office in Wilmington, said Monday evening. The rainfall was expected to cause the river’s water level to rise above its 13-foot flood stage Tuesday afternoon and crest at 13.8 feet Wednesday afternoon.
A flood warning was issued for Robeson County, he said.
County leaders were to planning a partial opening of the Emergency Operation Center, according to information released at 5:30 p.m. Monday. The opening of emergency shelters was not anticipated.
County offices, court systems and the Robeson County landfill and trash collection sites were to be operating on a regular schedule Tuesday.
Residents can call 910-272-5870 to report residential and commercial damages. Information about community resources can be obtained by calling 2-1-1.
As of 8 p.m. Isaias had been upgraded to a hurricane, with 75 mph sustained winds. The storm was located 60 miles south of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. The hurricane was expected to continue to accelerate toward the north-northeast Monday night, with conditions improving during Tuesday morning.
The storm was predicted to make landfall in western Brunswick County about midnight and then move northeast across Eastern North Carolina, Tim Armstrong said.
As of 7:30 p.m. Monday Robeson County was under a state of emergency effective immediately and in effect until rescinded. The declaration did not restrict residents’ movements or activities, but did state that county leaders could impose restrictions and a curfew if necessary.
Two Robeson County municipalities declared states of emergency Monday afternoon.
Maxton’s state of emergency was effective immediately and will be in effect until rescinded. The declaration stated that Isaias “may bring serious problems to the community, many of which may pose health and safety hazards” for residents.
Under the order, traveling on any public street or roadway is prohibited, with the exception of people in search of medical assistance, food or other commodities or services necessary to sustain the well-being of themselves or their family. Members of medical staff or any other emergency personnel also were exempt.
Red Springs’ emergency declaration will be rescinded when it is deemed safe, according to town leaders.
“This is efforts by the Town of Red Springs to proactively work for the overall protection of our citizens. Therefore, the Town of Red Springs is Declaring a State of Emergency this 3rd day of Aug. 2020,” a statement on the town’s website reads in part.
St. Pauls imposed a curfew effective from 8 p.m. Monday to 6 a.m. Tuesday.
“Residents are advised to stay at home and only essential travel is permitted. Please secure any items which are susceptible to being blown around by high winds. Heavy rain, high winds and flooding are expected,” a Facebook post by the St. Pauls Police Department reads in part.
The Pembroke Town Council meeting scheduled for 7 p.m. Monday was postponed because of the threat of severe weather. The meeting was rescheduled for 7 p.m. Aug. 11 at Town Hall, located at 100 Union Chapel Road.
For more information, contact the town’s administrative office at 910-521-9758.
In Lumberton, city firefighters Monday reviewed protocols for the use of rescue equipment, including inflatable rescue boats and water suits, Fire Chief Paul Ivey said.
The fire department is fully staffed and ready to respond to an emergency situation, he said.
“We’ve got all of our equipment and back-up generator in place,” Ivey said.
The fire chief recommended residents have an emergency kit that includes flashlights with backup batteries, water and nonperishable food items in the case of power outages.
The fire department also took to Facebook Monday afternoon to share safety tips with the public.
“Please remember don’t drive through fast water, don’t run generators indoors, and have a plan for evacuation.
We will survive this together. #LumbertonStrong,” the message reads in part.
Lumberton Public Works Director Robert Armstrong said Monday the department will have crews on standby for storm response “when it is safe to do so.”
Public Works staff also have been working to clear street drains ahead of the storm to prevent flooding, he said.
“We are encouraged that the forecast does not include a heavy amount of rain and the river level before the storm is around 10 feet, which is three feet below minor flood stage,” Armstrong said. “The National Weather Service forecast estimates the river will crest at around 14 feet after the storm which will not have a major impact.”
Public Works has prepared the area around VFW Road in the event of storm-related flooding. Workers from the department have moved dirt where VFW Road and the CSX railroad tracks cross beneath Interstate 95. The city has had Hesco barriers at the site since Hurricane Florence and the excess dirt will be used to extend the barrier and close the opening across the railroad tracks.
Waste collection is to operate on regular schedule Tuesday.
“Curbside rollout waste collection is on track to be picked up on regular schedule tomorrow but we are asking that folks don’t put their cans at the curb until after the winds die down tomorrow morning,” Armstrong said Monday.
The city’s Electric Utilities Department spent most of Monday finalizing preparations it started Friday for the storm, Director Lamar Brayboy said. The department spent Friday fueling trucks and preparing materials such as chainsaws for storm response.
“We’ll be prepared,” he said.
About six workers were to be ready to respond Monday evening to power outage calls, Brayboy said. Twenty-four other members were to be on call.
“As more calls come in we’ll start bringing in more employees,” he said.
The city serves about 10,000 customers. Outage claims can be made by calling the department at 910-671-3865.
Lumbee River EMC, which serves 21,826 customers in the county, was monitoring the storm’s progress Monday.
“LREMC has been monitoring Isaias and making preparations for the storm’s potential effect on our service area and we encourage you to prepare too! This storm is expected to bring heavy winds, rain, and the potential for power outages,” an online statement read in part Monday.
Outages can be reported by texting OUTAGE to 1-800-683-5571.
Duke Energy was making preparations Monday to serve its 24,384 customers across the county.
“Duke Energy has more than 2,200 workers prepared to respond to power outages. More than 300 Duke Energy workers traveled from the company’s Midwest service territory, and an additional 300 workers will travel from Florida tomorrow to supplement Carolina-based crews in power restoration, if needed,” Grace Rountree, a Duke Energy spokesperson, said Monday.
The company anticipates high winds and heavy rains, which might contribute to downed power lines.
“Stay away from downed power lines,” Rountree said. “You should always assume they are energized and dangerous.”
To report sagging or downed power lines, call 800-452-2777. To report power outages, call Duke Energy Carolinas at 1-800-769-3766 or Duke Energy Progress at 800-419-6356.
Robeson County Sheriff Burnis Wilkins said Monday the Sheriff’s Office is prepared to respond as needed.
“Robeson County Sheriff’s Office staff are preparing for what we hope is just a little rain and wind,” he said. “We are working closely with county Emergency Management as they monitor federal and state information being provided.”
The sheriff urged county residents to remain home and safe.
“We simply ask that no one be on the roads this evening and tonight and remain home or at a safe location,” Wilkins said Monday.
Credit: Source link