Hurricane Florence hitting the Carolinas

By TIM SINIARD
Posted 9/14/18

As portions of the mid-Atlantic Seaboard brace for Hurricane Florence, a local utility is on standby to offer assistance to areas of the Carolinas that may be adversely affected by the massive storm …

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Hurricane Florence hitting the Carolinas

Posted

As portions of the mid-Atlantic Seaboard brace for Hurricane Florence, a local utility is on standby to offer assistance to areas of the Carolinas that may be adversely affected by the massive storm which made landfall Friday morning.

Cleveland Utilities public relations officer Jaime Creekmore told the Cleveland Daily Banner that the utility is ready.

“We are ready and available,” Creekmore said. “We are waiting for the storm to hit. We do have crews on standby.”

Last year, a CU line crew traveled to Gainesville, Florida, in advance of Hurricane Irma to assist in repairing damages to the electrical grid caused by the massive storm. The four-man line crew made the trip with a bucket truck that was equipped with a 65-foot boom, as well as a digger derrick line truck.

According to reports, as many as 400,000 residents were without power as of Friday morning.

According to a Tennessee Valley Authority press release, the agency is sending 80 construction workers to support Duke Energy’s restoration work following Hurricane Florence. The workers left Friday for Hickory, North Carolina, located west of the hurricane, where they will await the storm to pass.

TVA’s aviation services has also sent two helicopters to support Duke Energy. They arrived earlier this week and will be in a secure location until the hurricane passes. Afterward, they will be used to conduct storm damage assessments, as well as for moving crews and equipment.

TVA and Duke Energy have a mutual assistance agreement to provide manpower and equipment support in response to severe weather emergencies, according to the TVA press release. In addition, TVA has a similar agreement with Southern Company –  and electric and gas company that services portions of the southern United States.

While Florence was downgraded to a category 1 storm, forecasters expect the hurricane will dump up to 40 inches of rain, causing river flooding and massive flash floods. Other areas of the Carolinas are expected to receive up to 24 inches of rainfall, with most receiving 6 to 12 inches.

An 8 a.m. weather advisory from the National Hurricane Center in Miami stated that life-threatening storm surges are occurring along coastal areas. If storm a surge occurs at high tide, the storm center said some areas of the North and South Carolina coast could experience surges anywhere from to 2 to 9 feet. The storm made  landfall at 8 a.m. Friday morning, near Wrightsville Beach, N.C.. The weather center said  hurricane conditions may contribute to tornadic activity in eastern North Carolina.

Despite the deluge of evacuees traveling on highways and interstates to escape the storm,  Melissa Woody,Cleveland-Bradley County Chamber of Commerce vice president of tourism and development, said local hotels have not noticed an uptick in occupancy rates.

The American Red Cross has opened a shelter at the Brainerd Recreation Center in Chattanooga, according to a news release. 

Hampton Inn director of sales Cynthia Lynn said while her hotel has not experienced an influx of evacuees seeking accommodations, the inn is offering special rates for evacuees, including those with pets.

Lynn said she is still expecting some evacuees to filter in as the storm continues.

"We probably will as we have in the past," Lynn said. "We want to be able to help these folks and plan to have fun things to do for families staying with us."

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