Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Hoke County - Hurricane Florence Update

Wednesday, Sept. 12, 5:10 p.m.

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-This afternoon (as of 5 p.m.) Hurricane Florence has weakened slightly to a Category 3 with sustained winds of 120 mph. It's moving 16 mph. Weaker in wind speed, but larger in wind area, the National Hurricane Center reports. That means worse storm surge. Some fluctuations in strength are possible through Thursday morning, according to the NHC.
The current forecast has the storm approaching the coast near the N.C./S.C. line and moving slowly near the coastline through Saturday. "Florence is forecast to
approach the southern portion of the North Carolina coast, then slow down considerably and turn westward within collapsing steering flow, with a very slow westward motion near the coasts of North and South Carolina continuing into Friday and Saturday.At 48 hours and beyond, no significant changes were required to the previous advisory track, which still shows Florence moving slowly westward across South Carolina and western North Carolina on day 4, followed by a slow northward motion up the Appalachian mountain chain on day 5.
For Hoke County, winds should increase Thursday, reaching tropical force by 8 p.m. tomorrow, increasing to 50 mph Friday, and to 60 mph Saturday. Winds would begin to subside Sunday. Heavy rain is forecast from 8 a.m. Fri. through 8 a.m. Monday.

A few things from the county preparation meeting this afternoon:

-Hoke County Emergency Management has requested additional resources from the state division of emergency management, including everything from extra personnel to MREs and extra cots, to water pumps to deal with potential flooding. Some requests were approved, others put on hold until the storm hits. Sheriff Hubert Peterkin is assisting emergency management by working on coordinating with the state to see if there's some way to get approval for the resources that were initially put on hold, or find other ways of getting them.
Among the approved items: MREs, tarps, and extra personnel to help with emergency response and cleanup.

-Local concerns for Florence include:
*Heavy rainfall, causing flooding
*Tropical storm force winds
*Downed trees causing power outages
*Potential issues with McLauchlin Lakes' lower lake breaching the privately owned dam and washing out part of Rockfish Road (workers are trying to get a pump in to lower the water level).

-Hoke County has 150 cots on hand for the shelter at Don Steed Elementary and is working to try and get more.

-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.
"We will try to answer every call, we will try to answer every request for help, but I'm not going to tell you that we're going to be able to get to everybody. It may take us a little time."
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 will be under a curfew every night (beginning tonight) from 7 p.m.-7 a.m. until the state of emergency declaration is lifted. See details on the curfew here:

-Hoke County will open a shelter at DON STEED ELEMENTARY SCHOOL located at 800 Philippi Church Road at 6 p.m. tonight (Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2018). The shelter is pet friendly and will have cages, food and water – bring your own leash and any pet medications needed. For details on what other items to bring/not to bring, visit If the first shelter becomes full, the county plans to open a second shelter at SANDY GROVE MIDDLE SCHOOL.

-We were told at the county meeting that just ended that yes, Hoke County has generators both in place and more on the way right now for the water system, so even if the county loses electricity, the backup generators can still power the stations that pump water. HOWEVER - that does NOT mean Hoke citizens won't lose water service. Other things can go wrong, such as breaks in water pipes. It is very important that Hoke residents still prepare as if they are going to lose electricity and water service. Anything can happen in a hurricane. Be prepared with at least one gallon of water per person for at least three days in case your water goes out, and extra for your pets.

-Transportation to the shelter, particularly for the elderly or disabled, is available through Hoke Area Transportation (HATS), until/unless worsening weather conditions make it impossible to operate. Those with transportation needs should call (910) 848-4646 and ask for the Transportation Coordinator.

-Hoke County Schools and Hoke County government offices will be closed Thursday, September 13 and Friday, September 14. The Raeford Post Office will also be closed Thursday.

-You can sign up for automated emergency telephone notifications from Hoke County by going here:

-The North Carolina Fall Festival has been rescheduled for November 1-3. The Turkey Bowl football game (and other school sporting events) have been moved to next week.


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