RALEIGH, N.C. — A State of Emergency remains in effect for North Carolina as Hurricane Ian batters the Carolinas with heavy rain, high winds and life-threatening storm surge in coastal areas.
Gov. Roy Cooper declared the State of Emergency Wednesday, officially setting state emergency plans into place. Part of the declaration includes waiving transportation rules to get fuel and critical supplies to impacted areas; aiding first responders and the agriculture industry, and fighting against price gouging.
“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,” said Cooper. “North Carolinians should stay aware, keep a close eye on the forecast and prepare their emergency supplies.”
Ian officially made its second U.S. landfall shortly after 2 p.m. Friday near Georgetown, South Carolina, after leaving a trail of destruction across Florida on Thursday. Ian threatened Charleston with severe flooding as it moved north toward the Charlotte area Friday afternoon.
Executive Order 270 waives size and weight requirements for vehicles involved in relief efforts throughout the State of Emergency. This includes those used to remove debris, restore power, and transport goods like food or fuel. North Carolina's agricultural industry gets help as vehicles used to transport livestock, poultry, or crops won't need to be weighed temporarily.
The Tar Heel State can expect heavy rainfall Friday and Saturday, along with the possibility of flooding and tornadoes. To that effect, the State Emergency Response Team will convene Thursday at the State Emergency Operations Center in Raleigh, before moving to 24-hour operations Friday morning.
While most areas in North Carolina will see up to 5 inches of rain this weekend, more rain is expected near the coast and along the Blue Ridge Escarpment. This could lead to localized flash flooding, landslides in the mountains, and rises on main-stem rivers.
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Cooper's announcement came shortly after South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster issued a similar declaration for the Palmetto State. Ahead of the expected impacts from the hurricane, some school districts there have opted for virtual learning days on Friday.
Statewide, anti-price gouging laws are in effect immediately. Attorney General Josh Stein urged North Carolinians to be vigilant and speak up.
“We don’t yet know what kind of damage Hurricane Ian will bring to North Carolina, but we do know that it will bring out scammers,” he said. “Please report concerns about price gougers to my office so we can hold them accountable for exploiting people’s desperation.”
The state's price gouging law prevents businesses from increasing prices on goods beyond a reasonable need. While some price increases are expected due to costs associated with emergencies, businesses in North Carolina must disclose such increases to customers and cannot raise prices too much to take advantage of a crisis.
Anyone who believes a business is engaging in price gouging can call 1-877-5-NO-SCAM to make a report, or file one online.
Here's how you can stay prepared before severe weather hits:
- Have multiple ways to get emergency information, like cell phones, weather radios, and more. Ensure alerts are enabled
- Check your emergency plan now and review it with your household
- Know where to go if you need to evacuate, and plan to stay elsewhere like a hotel or with loved ones. Public shelters should be seen as a last resort
- Check your emergency supplies or refresh an emergency kit
- If you live in a coastal area, check out Know Your Zone NC to ensure you know where to evacuate if needed
- Check out ReadyNC for more information on preparations and DriveNC for current travel conditions