Although the forecast track for hurricane Dorian remains uncertain, the City of New Bern is taking steps now to prepare and is encouraging residents to do the same. National Hurricane Center meteorologists say although a landfall is uncertain at this time, the storm poses a significant threat to the southeastern United States. By week’s end, Dorian is forecast to impact eastern North Carolina.
The City of New Bern declared a State of Emergency effective at 5:00 p.m., September 2nd. The proclamation, signed by Mayor Pro Tempore Jeffrey Odham, is an emergency mechanism that must be in place ahead of requests for regional, state, and federal resources. It also allows the city to take emergency measures to secure and protect residents, such as enacting curfews and limiting the sale of alcohol. No curfews or sales limitations are currently in effect.
The City’s Emergency Operations Center (EOC) on Highway 55 will mobilize at 8:00 a.m. Thursday, September 5th ahead of the storm. Management staff met today to discuss possible scenarios and storm impacts as well as current preparations, then began scheduling supplemental and on-call staff for storm duty. On Tuesday, city staff will begin checking supplies at the warehouse on Kale Road, making sure needs can be met for mitigating power outages, water and sewer emergencies, and debris removal. The Department of Public Utilities has mutual aid agreements in place should the City require additional help to restore power quickly and efficiently. Staff will begin topping off fuel in emergency response vehicles and equipment by midweek.
“We will know more about the track of the storm in the next 24 – 48 hours, but we are using this valuable time to get staff, equipment and supplies in place and ready to go,” said City Manager Mark Stephens. “New Bern could see storm surge, flooding, significant rain, power outages and wind damage as a result of this hurricane.”
The City’s stormwater pumps located at Jack Smith Creek and East Rose Street will begin operating soon in an effort to increase floodwater capacity ahead of hurricane Florence. During storms, these pumps come on automatically as water levels rise.
“Our best advice right now is to make sure your disaster kit is stocked and ready,” said Fire-Rescue Chief Robert Boyd. “Be sure to have food and water supplies for each member of the family to last several days, have first aid supplies and medications handy as well as batteries, flashlights and a weather radio. And if you live in a flood prone area, consider riding out the storm somewhere away from Dorian’s forecast track, possibly with a friend or family member.” Tuesday, firefighters will begin going door-to-door in low-lying areas encouraging residents to head inland. Those areas include, but are not limited to, Woodrow, Duffyfield, North 2nd Avenue, North Hills Drive, Cooper’s Landing, Hazel Avenue and Attmore Drive.
If you are a city customer and you lose power, report it by using our website portal at www.NewBernNC.gov. From the homepage, click on “How Do I,” then “Report a Problem,” then “Report a Problem” (again), which will direct customers to a page where they can report power outages, water/sewer emergencies, and non-emergency issues. Or, call us at (252) 636-4070. You do not need to speak to an operator. Leave a detailed message with your address, type of emergency, and contact info and an operator will call you back to ensure restoration.
Residents are strongly encouraged to subscribe to the City’s emergency alert system, CodeRED. It’s free and alerts subscribers to emergencies within the community through text messaging, emails, or phone calls. You can sign up on the city website or download the CodeRED app to your smartphone.
The City will post additional storm updates and information, as necessary, to its social media platforms. Follow us on Twitter @CityofNewBern. Find us on Facebook at City of New Bern, NC Government. Or find us on Instagram at @CityofNewBern.
Submitted by: Colleen Roberts, Public Information Officer, City of New Bern