RALEIGH — With remnants of Hurricane Ian expected to impact North Carolina in the coming days, Gov. Roy Cooper has declared a state of emergency.
“A State of Emergency is needed now so that farmers and those preparing for the storm can more quickly get ready for the heavy rain that is likely to fall in much of our state,” Cooper said in a press release. “North Carolinians should stay aware, keep a close eye on the forecast and prepare their emergency supplies.”
According to Cooper’s office, Executive Order 270: “waives the size and weight requirements for vehicles engaged in relief efforts before, during and after the severe weather, including power restoration and debris removal, as well as the transportation of goods like food, fuel, and medical supplies. The order also helps North Carolina’s agricultural sector by temporarily suspending weighing of vehicles used to transport livestock, poultry or crops ready to be harvested. The Council of State concurred with the waiver of transportation regulations in the order today.”
The order also puts into effect the state’s gasoline price-gouging law.
State Agricutlure Commissioner Steve Troxler issued a statement regarding Cooper’s order:
“As we have learned over the years of dealing with hurricanes and tropical storms bearing heavy rain, preparing for storms ahead of time can help limit damage. The waiving of some motor vehicle regulations related to agriculture help farmers get ready. At my recommendation and as allowed by state law, the Governor has directed the Department of Public Safety to temporarily suspend weighing vehicles used to transport livestock, poultry, feed and crops in the state.
“This Executive Order will allow our farmers the opportunity to harvest as much of their crops as they can before the storm hits. The order also will help ensure that livestock, poultry, crops and feed can be moved as necessary. The order also temporarily suspends the maximum hours of service for drivers.
“In addition to the waiving of motor vehicle regulations, the department is temporarily suspending health certificate requirements on livestock traveling through the state from areas in Hurricane Ian’s path.
“I urge everyone to prepare for this storm. Check your generators, fuel and emergency kits. We don’t know what impact this storm will have yet on our state. But we do know that preparation saves lives and protects property.”
Cooper has also “authorized the activation of about 80 members of the North Carolina National Guard to assist as needed.”
Hurricane Ian made landfall as a strong Category 4 storm on the Gulf Coast of Florida between Fort Myers and Port Charlotte earlier Wednesday afternoon.
The forecasted track from the National Hurricane Center, as of the 5 p.m. update, has Ian crossing the Florida peninsula and weakening to tropical storm as it re-enters the Atlantic Thursday afternoon.
Ian is expected to turn north-northwest and make a second landfall around Hilton Head Island by 2 p.m. Friday. The eye of the storm is forecast to enter North Carolina around Kings Mountain or Shelby on Saturday, reaching Boone by 2 p.m.
Current rainfall predictions show that most of North Carolina, including Richmond County, could see 4-6 inches. Areas along the coast from Brunswick County to the Pamlico River and around Roanoke Rapids, as well as along the Interstate-26 corridor from Hendersonville to Asheville, could receive up to 10 inches.
A chance of rain is expected in Richmond County from early Friday morning through Sunday night, according to the National Weather Service. There is at least a 15% chance of flash flooding, according to the National Hurricane Center.