Florence near miss: ‘A matter of 50 miles’

Published 7:52 am Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Dare County was spared the wrath of Hurricane Florence.

“It was a matter of 50 miles to the right,” Dare Emergency Management Director Drew Pearson reported at Monday’s board of commissioners meeting.

The meeting started with a Hurricane Florence timeline punctuated by Dare County Control Group decisions. Board Chairman Robert L. Woodard delivered the report.

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The control group, which makes decisions during emergencies like hurricanes, met five times during Hurricane Florence. Coming to the new Emergency Operations Center were mayors of Dare’s six incorporated towns, the National Park Service superintendent and the Dare County sheriff. Woodard chairs the group.

Staff directly supporting the group were County Manager Robert L. Outten, Pearson and Dorothy Hester, the county’s public information officer.

“I think we were ready,” said Outten. “It went very smoothly for us.”

It went smoothly because Dare County departments work throughout the year on disaster response. “It’s a career of work that makes that happen,” said Outten.

Woodard highlighted the work of various segments of the county government.

Emergency Medical Services “worked tirelessly,” said Woodard. The agency helped evacuate patients from Peak Resources and from homes. The agency has now deployed an ambulance strike team with two vehicles and four staff to hard hit areas of southeastern North Carolina to assist.

Woodard also praised the work of sheriff’s deputies, who helped manage bridges.

“I have confidence in all our deputies,” commissioner Danny Couch said. Deputies also engaged in humanitarian efforts and, said Couch, showed what “protect and serve” means.

Some 13 health and human services workers staffed the phones at the Emergency Operations Center 10 hours a day.

Woodard commended the towns for following Dare County’s lead and the National Park Superintendent for help staffing checkpoints.

Woodward said each hurricane is different but similar. Different in path and strength. Similar in destroying and uprooting.

Heavy on all minds at the meeting was the destruction in southeastern North Carolina brought by Hurricane Florence.
Watermen are helping Down East in Carteret County.

On Tuesday, seven Hatteras Islanders in four trucks with two trailers arrived in Down East and were directed to badly hit David.

From Ocracoke, watermen have made seven total trips to Down East by boat.

Wanchese Fish has offered free cold storage for fish, reported Commissioner Steve House.

House also reported that North Carolina Fisheries Association asked watermen for damage figures to fish houses, boats, lost gear, homes, vehicles or anything connected to commercial fishing. Email information to jerryschill@ncfish.org.

Cape Hatteras Electric Cooperative sent four linemen and two trucks to Down East to help repair electric lines. The volunteers left Sunday, Sept. 16.