Monday, September 17, 2018

Hoke County - Florence Update

Monday, September 17, 5:25 p.m.


We'll have full coverage of Hurricane Florence and the aftermath in this week's issue of The News-Journal, which will be published Wednesday as usual! http://thenews-journal.com We appreciate everyone's support and we're honored to serve you. We're here throughout the year as well as in times of crisis. If you'd like to help our award-winning work in local journalism, you can subscribe at http://thenews-journal.com/gong/!


Things are slowly beginning to improve in Raeford and Hoke County after Florence, with the sun peeking out for the first time in days. It's not all good: some areas are still experiencing flooding, and there are about 4,500 people in the county still without power, and a number of homes have downed trees on them. Fortunately, no injuries have been reported so far.


The mandatory evacuation order for the McLauchlin Lakes area was canceled this afternoon after a state dam inspector was able to take a look at the Kaco dam. There are no evacuation orders active in the county at this time. Rockfish Road near the dam remains closed.


The Hoke County curfew is also lifted as of today!


We're hearing that water is back on for residents in the Ashley Heights/McCain areas who suffered loss of service yesterday and today due to a generator failing. County officials confirmed that a new generator is in place and service should be restored. Those customers who were affected are under a boil water advisory for the moment - only customers who lost water service need to boil water.


Most of the shelters are shut down now, with Don Steed Elementary remaining open along with the pet shelter for people who evacuated for Florence with their animals. Visit www.readyhoke.org or call the Emergency Operations Center at 910-848-4646 for more information on the shelter.


The roads in Raeford are all back open, and road conditions in lesser-damaged areas of the county are improving. Most of the major roads like U.S. 401 and N.C. 20 are open and clear. N.C. 211 from Raeford to Red Springs was closed at the county line due to high water on the road, but when we went to check on it today, the barricades were moved and people were driving through the water today to cross the road. Please use caution.


There are some roads in the county, particularly the Camden Road/Rockfish Road area, that remain closed. North Old Wire Road is also closed due to flooding. You can find out more about road closures through these websites:
https://tims.ncdot.gov/tims/
https://www.google.com/maps/d/viewer…


Hoke County Government Offices are open Tuesday, September 18.


Hoke County Schools are closed Tuesday, September 18 and further updates will be posted on their website https://www.hcs.k12.nc.us/ and their Facebook page.


Hoke County Courts appear to be closed Tuesday as well according to this information: https://www.nccourts.gov/closings
If you want to double check tomorrow, call the courthouse at 910-878-4100.


The Raeford Post Office is back open.


All county solid waste sites EXCEPT Antioch are open tomorrow. There's still no power at the Antioch site.


We'll check back in with you all tomorrow or as needed!

Curfew Lifted

From the EOC...the curfew in Hoke County has been lifted. County offices will open tomorrow (Tuesday)

Monday Morning

The dam at McLauchlin Lake held last night, but emergency officials watched it closely and ordered a mandatory evacuation. Two dozen military personnel, and Rockfish Fire Department members went door-to-door in a large area that stretched from Rockfish Road to Camp Rockfish warning residents that if they didn't leave, the failure of the dam might mean an extended time that rescuers couldn't reach them. Emergency Management Director Bryan Marley said this morning that some left, a few going to shelters.
Marley said emergency workers kept an eye on the dam, which sits beside Rockfish Road on the southwest outskirts of the community, and while water overtopped the dam, it so far hasn't breeched it.

Two shelters remain open in Hoke County—at Don Steed Elementary and West Hoke Middle School—and will for the time being as Emergency Management monitors continued flooding. The Lumber River, Marley says, isn't expected to crest until Tuesday.

The Emergency Operations Center at the sheriff's office has been operating in full force since Thursday, partial since Wednesday, and is to return to a scaled down version today around 8. County workers, Raeford Police, Hoke Sheriff's deputies and others have been staffing the center to field calls and direct response to the storm.

County offices are closed, and that includes the landfill and convenience sites. Don Russell, director of sanitation, says work is underway to get the sites up and running but as of last night, Antioch and 5 Points still lacked power.

Hoke Schools are closed today.

We've been told the Post Office is open today.

We'll continue to post followup information in coming days, though perhaps at a reduced rate.

Meanwhile, there's still a chance of showers and thunderstorms today and tomorrow, with Wednesday predicted to be a nice day. The storm will be tracking from Kentucky through Pennsylvania and heading off to sea. Moist air will persist, the National Weather Service says, and could provide another quarter of an inch of rain today. The forecast is for breezy conditions throughout the day.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Mandatory evacuation

Hoke County Orders Mandatory Evacuation for Residents along Gulley Branch below McLaughlin Lake
Hoke County Officials have issued a mandatory evacuation order for the listed areas below due to the potential breach of the dam at McLaughlin Lake:
Overlake Dr
Shoreline Drive
Woods Ln
Eulon Loop
Pecan Trace Road
Lakeside Road
Country Walk Subdivisions – all roads Zane Dr
Southern Oaks Rd Bostic Rd
Bill Wright Rd Lena Dr
Swift Creek Rd
Jody Ln
Myra Rd
Gully Branch Rd
Briar Hill Rd
Mumford Rd
Wildlife Ln
Camp Rockfish Rd
Arabia Rd (from Davis Bridge Rd to Sunset Lake Rd) Everitt Rd (from Arabia Rd to Creekside subdivision) Rockfish Rd (Camden Rd to Davis Bridge Rd)
David Bridge Rd to County Line
Affected areas are those that will be impacted by the emptying of the McLaughlin Lake into the Gulley Branch, flowing into the Upchurch Pond. Fort Bragg and Coast Guard Units will be on scene to assist residents with evacuation.
For further information please call the Emergency Operations Center at 910-848-4646.

Landfill, convenience sites

We've had a question about the landfill and convenience sites opening -- Don Russell, who's over that department tells us it won't be tomorrow. (All the sanitation folks have been working shelters and EOC.) He says they've been inspecting the various sites, and will spend tomorrow getting ready. 5-points and Antioch still don't have power. We'll keep you posted.

More McLauchlin Lake

Fort Bragg Units and Coast Guard Punt Team Sent to Assist with McLaughlin Lake Area Evacuation
Due to the worsening situation with flooding at McLaughlin Lake, Hoke County Emergency Management has requested units from Ft. Bragg to respond to residences in the following vicinities:
Country Walk Subdivisions – all roads Eulon Loop
Woods Lane
Overlake Drive
Shoreline Drive Pecan Trace Road Lakeside Road
Units will be on scene to encourage citizens to voluntarily evacuate. It is possible that further evacuation areas will be added based on weather conditions.

McLauchlin Lakes voluntary evacuation

We've just had an announcement from Hoke County Emergency Management regarding evacuations at McLauchlin Lakes.

"Due to the worsening situation with flooding at McLauchlin Lake, Hoke County Emergency Management has requested units from Fort Bragg to respond to residences in the vicinity of Overlake Drive and Shoreline Drive to encourage citizens to voluntarily evacuate. For further information please call the Emergency Operations Center at 910-848-4646."


Rainfall totals

Radar estimates since Florence began now shows much of Hoke County receiving 10-12 inches of rain, with the extreme south and east (Rockfish) getting 12-15. In town the total is less (See chart), which agrees with the approx 7.5 inches we recorded at The News-Journal.

Hoke County - Florence Update

Sunday, Sept. 16, 5 p.m.

At 5 p.m. more heavy rain is still possible as a particularly nasty band of rain associated with Tropical Depression Florence heads toward us from the Atlantic over the next few hours. The band has the potential for sporadic tornadoes, so citizens are advised to keep an ear toward warnings. The band's exact track is not evident. Meanwhile, flooding is widespread in Hoke County, particularly in the south, in Rockfish, and now in Raeford.

STORM HELP/INFORMATION/SHELTERS
For assistance or information about storm-related matters, or for information about the available shelters, call the Hoke County Emergency Management EOC at (910) 848-4646 or go online to www.readyhoke.org

POWER OUTAGES
Crews are out working on getting the power back on, and have restored power to about 6,000 Hoke residents so far.
Please DO NOT call 911 about your power being out. Contact your service provider or go online to their outage map to see the status of your area.
Duke Energy: 800-419-6356 | Lumbee River EMC: 800-683-5571

FOOD/WATER GIVEAWAY
Hoke County officials have announced that water, cleaning supplies and heater meals will be given away at the following locations starting at 11:00 am until 6:00 pm on Monday 9/17/2018.
Rockfish Fire Dept.
Puppy Creek Fire Dept.
Hillcrest Fire Dept.
Antioch Fire Dept.
Pinehill Fire Dept.
North Raeford Fire Dept.
All supplies will be given out on a first come first serve basis until supplies are extinguished.

MCLAUCHLIN LAKES DAM
As of 5 p.m. it appeared to still be holding but was seeing spillover. Emergency officials were on their way over to check it out again shortly after.

FLOODING
Flooding continues to spread across Hoke County as seen in the many photos we've shared and had shared with us today. Emergency Management began evacuating the Lantern Lane apartments in Raeford around 4:30 p.m. today due to flooding.
From Hoke County Emergency Management:
"As a result of the massive rains received during Hurricane Florence, many areas of Hoke County are seeing flooding and roads under water. Many roads in the Rockfish area are under water. If you begin to receive flooding in your home and need assistance call the Hoke County Emergency Operations Center at 910-848-4646."
As you can see from the many videos and photos we've been posting today, areas prone to flood are flooding. Emergency Management was set to hold a briefing with the National Guard and Coast Guard about water rescues this afternoon at East Hoke Middle School where they are stationed right now, but the briefing was postponed due to their needing to respond to a mission call.
Flooding is a serious threat. Do not walk or swim in floodwater.

CLOSURES
What's closed Monday, September 17 in Hoke County?
Hoke County Schools, Hoke County government offices. We weren't able to get an answer on whether the Raeford Post Office will be open or not and recommend calling them tomorrow to find out.

TRAVEL WARNING
From NCDOT:
"The N.C. Department of Transportation continues to urge drivers to stay off the roads, as the rain continues and conditions are getting worse by the hour. As of Sunday morning, there were more than 600 road closures across the state.
While residents may feel the need to check on homes and vacation properties in southeastern North Carolina, they will likely impede state and local response and recovery.
"The flooding we are seeing in our state is unprecedented and road conditions are changing rapidly," said state Transportation Secretary Jim Trogdon. "If you are not in an evacuation area, stay in place."
While some areas might reopen some local roads and bridges later today, travel from central to southeastern North Carolina is dangerous and unreliable.
By traveling in potentially hazardous areas, drivers are putting themselves and others at risk and impeding access for critical personnel – emergency services, utilities, road crews – responding to this storm.
GPS navigation systems also are not able to keep up with the changing road closures and are directing people onto roads that are confirmed closed and/or flooded.
To get an idea on road conditions, which are rapidly changing, go to DriveNC.gov or follow NCDOT on Twitter."
ROAD CLOSURES

Rockfish/Hoke County Flooding

We've received a message about flooding in Rockfish and Hoke County from Hoke Emergency Management:
"As a result of the massive rains received during Hurricane Florence, many areas of Hoke County are seeing flooding and roads under water. Many roads in the Rockfish area are under water. If you begin to receive flooding in your home and need assistance call the Hoke County Emergency Operations Center at 910-848-4646."

Roads getting hazardous, especially east of here

This from N.C. DOT: "travel from central to southeastern North Carolina is dangerous and unreliable. 

By traveling in potentially hazardous areas, drivers are putting themselves and others at risk and impeding access for critical personnel – emergency services, utilities, road crews – responding to this storm. 

GPS navigation systems also are not able to keep up with the changing road closures and are directing people onto roads that are confirmed closed and/or flooded."

Supplies distributed

Hoke County officials have announced that water, cleaning supplies and heater meals will be given away at the following locations starting at 11:00 am until 6:00 pm on Monday 9/17/2018.

Rockfish Fire Dept.
Puppy Creek Fire Dept.
Hillcrest Fire Dept.
Antioch Fire Dept.
Pinehill Fire Dept.
North Raeford Fire Dept.

All supplies will be given out on a first come first serve basis until supplies are extinguished.

Video from The Mill, Johns Mill Road

Jason Sawyer sent this along.

Commission update

The 09/17/2018 regular meeting of the Hoke County Board of Commissioners has been cancelled due to inclement weather and road conditions resulting from Hurricane Florence. 



Total Storm Precip in Hoke

Our total storm rainfall at The News-Journal in downtown Raeford is a merciful 5.35 inches as of this writing. The southern portion of the county has received up to 3 inches more, according to radar estimates from the National Weather Service. Our top wind gust was 48 mph

Late morning Update

Flooding is becoming more of a problem but still not to Matthew levels so far.
The worst area, according to Andrew Jacobs in the Emergency Operations Center, is South Hoke, which is low-lying and has received more rain than in central Hoke. About 5 feet of water covered Highway 211 toward Red Springs last night, and at last word the road was still blocked at the county line.
There have been no reported injuries or rescues so far.
Other areas of concern: twin bridges at Arabia is nearly flooded (4 inches below the roadway). Johnson Mill at The Mill Restaurant is once again posing problems. Mclauchlin Lake is overflowing but the dam hasn't failed.

We're posting a current map of road closures here:
https://drive.google.com/open?id=1MISEbBgRNabs0EEKLL02YXqov98&usp=sharing

NC DOT is also posting updates on a map, and during Matthew, kept it quite up-to-date, so ours may be duplication. The DOT map is here:
https://tims.ncdot.gov/tims/RegionSummary.aspx?co=47

The radar image shows we're apparently getting a break for a bit.

Road Closures

Here's link to current road closures in Hoke County:


https://drive.google.com/open?id=1MISEbBgRNabs0EEKLL02YXqov98&usp=sharing


Ken MacDonald
Publisher
The News-Journal
119 W Elwood Ave
Raeford, N.C. 28376
(910) 875-2121
www.thenews-journal.com

Sunday Morning


Continued problems with falling trees and power lines, and rising water plagued Hoke County overnight, but it will be a few hours before a good assessment of where we are can be made. The Hoke Emergency Operations Center says two feet of water across Red Springs Highway (NC211) has the road blocked at the county line. Rockfish Road remains blocked in the vicinity of the overflowing McLauchlin Lake—between Peacan Trace and Overlake. Last night the National Guard warned residents in the area (Country Walk) of the danger. Garvin Ferguson in the EOC says a big problem officials are seeing is people driving into fallen trees. So far, no life-threatening injuries have been reported in the county during the storm.

Tropical Depression Florence, now centered about 10 miles southwest of Columbia, S.C. has lost most of her wind fury with no more sustained tropical force winds. Further weakening is forecast as the storm continues its westward track before turning north, and eventually heading back out to sea. The Nat. Hurricane Center says this morning's advisory will be its last on the storm, so we turn now to the National Weather Service for rain information.

Radar cumulative maps (see chart) show about 8 inches of rain has fallen in Hoke County since Florence began. Rainfall of higher than 20 inches fell just to our east and south in some portions of Robeson and Cumberland County, not to mention the totals at the coast. The Lumber River in Lumberton was four feet above flood stage at 7:30 last night and is forecast to rise to 11 feet above flood stage by tomorrow. 
In Hoke County, there's a potential for 3.5 inches today, with heaviest rain this morning,  and wind of 20 mph before rain and wind begin to subside tonight. Showers Monday and Tuesday are possible with the first drier day on Wednesday as a front pushes through.

For Facebook followers, to easily view previous updates and reports from The News-Journal go here: https://thenews-journal.blogspot.com  If you ever encounter link trouble it's accessible from our website, www.thenews-journal.com

Two quick notes:

Aid contribution possibility: NC Baptists On A Mission are setting up large feeding kitchens across flooded areas, first in New Bern. Other sites will be set up soon. They're also planning mud-outs, tear-outs, and chainsaw work.  https://baptistsonmission.org

Governor Roy Cooper is planning to join a U.S. Coast Guard flyover of damage across eastern NC at 8 a.m. and to report to media at noon.

Saturday, September 15, 2018

HATS service

HATS service is suspended until further notice due to flooding and other road hazards.

Hoke County - Florence Update

-WEATHER UPDATE

You could walk faster than Tropical Storm Florence…backwards. The storm, at 5 p.m., is moving west at 2 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center. Now located 60 miles west of Myrtle Beach, Florence has maximum sustained winds of 45 mph. With the 5 p.m. advisory all storm surge warnings have been discontinued.
The biggest threat now for Hoke County is continued rain. Weather Underground predicts roughly 3-4 inches of rain tonight and another 3.5 tomorrow, with rain gradually tapering off Monday. We observed near-flooding already in South Hoke. When, you want to know, will things get cooler and drier? Thursday, with the arrival of a cold front.

So far the worst rain accumulation from this storm is eastern N.C. at Swan Quarter, where 30 inches has been recorded. "That rainfall total breaks the tropical cyclone
rainfall record of 24.06 inches for North Carolina set during Hurricane Floyd in 1999," says the Nat. Hurricane Center.
Meanwhile the Nat. Weather Service in Wilmington is predicting 12-18 more inches of rain in a swatch from Wilmington to Southport up to Elizabethtown and into Robeson County, and says it may rival Matthew and Floyd damage.

Attached is 5 p.m. radar image.

 

-MCLAUCHLIN LAKES DAM/ROCKFISH ROAD

Rockfish Road near McLauchlin Lakes is now closed until further notice due to threat of flooding. There is a voluntary evacuation in place for people in the Country Walk subdivision (Carriage Lane, Early Morning Drive, Whitechapel Lane, Stones Throw Lane). As of this afternoon firefighters and other emergency response personnel were going door to door to warn residents in that neighborhood. If you need help evacuating or information on shelters, call (910) 848-4646 or visit www.readyhoke.org.

 

-POWER OUTAGES:

There are still over 14,000 people in Hoke County without power now, including about 11,000 LREMC customers and 3,000 Duke Energy customers. Some have been without power for over a day now. Given the ongoing wind and rain, it may be several days before power is fully restored, but works crews are assessing damage.

A reminder from county officials: do not call 911 if your power goes out. Call your power company to report the outage. 911 cannot get your power back on.

Duke Energy: 800-419-6356 | Lumbee River EMC: 800-683-5571

 

-TRAVEL/CURFEW

While most roads are still open, debris is widespread and conditions may worsen due to continued rainfall. Officials urge residents to stay off the roads unless absolutely necessary. There is a curfew in effect from 7 pm-7 am each night for the county until the state of emergency is lifted.

If driving, many traffic lights are out. Traffic lights that are out should be treated as a four-way stop sign intersection.

 

-CLOSURES:

Most stores, businesses, and offices in Hoke County are shut down today. There is debris on some roadways, there are traffic lights out in various areas, and driving should be considered hazardous at this point.

 

-EMERGENCY OPERATIONS CENTER:

For help with storm related questions or other information, call the automated information line at (910) 848-4645 or to speak with a staff member, call (910) 848-4646.

Hoke County Emergency Management Director Bryan Marley warned citizens that during the storm, the emergency operations center (EOC) team will do their best to help people with questions but that they expect a high call volume.

 

-SHELTERS OPEN:

Shelters are open, see www.readyhoke.org/shelters for details. The shelter at Hoke High closed today and people there were taken to other shelters.

 

-OTHER FLOODING

Hoke County Emergency Management is monitoring waterways like the Lumber River and Rockfish Creek to keep an eye out for flooding. With more rain predicted today and tomorrow, conditions could worsen and flooding is the main concern now.

"We're anticipating some possible flooding along the Lumber River, that's about where we're at right now," – Marley

There is a VOLUNTARY EVACUATION in effect for people who live near the Lumber River. If you are not sure if you are in a flood zone for the Lumber River (map of the river here: http://www.ci.lumberton.nc.us/imag…/river/lumberrivermap.pdf) call the EOC at 848-4646 with your address and speak to them for assistance.




Hoke County - Florence Update

-FORECAST

At 11 a.m. Tropical Storm Florence was CREEPING, like 3 mph, generally westward from its position about  20 miles nearly due west of Myrtle Beach. Top sustained winds are about 50 mph with higher gusts. The forecast for Raeford and Hoke County is continual rain through tomorrow, again in periodic heavy bands. Winds should increase slightly this afternoon, then begin to drop off pretty nicely from 8 p.m. on. 

Flooding is our biggest threat at this point. We've been driving around the southern part of the county, and it's apparent the fields and yards can't take much more rain. The National Weather Service says we could get 4 inches today and 4 inches tonight. 1-2 is possible tomorrow. At The News-Journal, we've recorded 1.66 inches since midnight and a high wind gust of 46 mph today.

The Marathon overhang is flipped upside down and resting in the store's parking lot at Main Street and Central Avenue. We have many more photos of trees on houses, vehicles etc.


-POWER OUTAGES:
There are over 14,000 people in Hoke County without power now, including about 11,000 LREMC customers and 3,000 Duke Energy customers. Some have been without power for almost a day now. Given the ongoing wind and rain, it may be several days before power is fully restored, but works crews are on standby to roll out as soon as the winds die down enough that it is safe for them to operate.

A reminder from county officials: do not call 911 if your power goes out. Call your power company to report the outage. 911 cannot get your power back on.
Duke Energy: 800-419-6356 | Lumbee River EMC: 800-683-5571

 

-TORNADO WATCH:
The National Weather Service has placed Hoke County is under a tornado watch until 5 p.m. today. The watch also includes Lee, Moore, and Wilson counties.

 

-I-95 SHUT DOWN, REROUTED:
Raeford may be seeing some increased traffic shortly. Due to flooding, I-95 in Lumberton is shut down with traffic diverted at St. Pauls down Route 20 to Palmer Street, then on to N.C. 211 and on to Highway 401.

-CLOSURES:
Most stores, businesses, and offices in Hoke County are shut down today. There is debris on some roadways, there are traffic lights out in various areas, and driving should be considered hazardous at this point.

 

-EMERGENCY OPERATIONS CENTER:
For help with storm related questions or other information, call the automated information line at (910) 848-4645 or to speak with a staff member, call (910) 848-4646.
Hoke County Emergency Management Director Bryan Marley warned citizens that during the storm, the emergency operations center (EOC) team will do their best to help people with questions but that they expect a high call volume.

 

-SHELTERS OPEN:
Shelters are open, see www.readyhoke.org/shelters for details.


-FLOODING - UPDATE FROM BRYAN MARLEY
Hoke County Emergency Management is monitoring waterways like the Lumber River and Rockfish Creek to keep an eye out for flooding. With more rain predicted today and tomorrow, conditions could worsen and flooding is the main concern now.

"We're anticipating some possible flooding along the Lumber River, that's about where we're at right now," – Marley
There is a VOLUNTARY EVACUATION in effect for people who live near the Lumber River. If you are not sure if you are in a flood zone for the Lumber River (map of the river here: ) call the EOC at 848-4646 with your address and speak to them for assistance.

-MCLAUCHLIN LAKES DAM:

According to county officials, NC Emergency Management assisted county staff in getting a pump to help lower the water level at McLauchlin Lakes to prevent damage to Rockfish Road. The pump has lowered the water level at the lake by six to eight inches and continues running, they report. The North Carolina National Guard is also delivering two high water vehicles and two Humvees to help with the local emergency response.