Officials facing storm recovery, flood preparations

Published 6:09 pm Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Area emergency-management personnel are dealing with a double-edged sword: recovery efforts related to Hurricane Matthew and preparing for river flooding in the wake of Matthew.

While coordinating recovery efforts that included food distribution, damage assessment and evacuations Tuesday, those officials were simultaneously developing strategies to deal with river flooding today and/or Thursday.

“It’s all part of Matthew. It’s all rolled into one,” said John Pack, Beaufort County’s emergency-management director, Tuesday afternoon.

As for storm recovery, the food distribution site in Washington (Washington Plaza shopping center on 15th Street) was replenished two times Tuesday. Other food distribution sites were at Bath and Aurora. “We had good response in the Aurora area,” Pack said. “They were without power Monday night,” he said.

“We’ve been supporting people through the distribution of water and MREs (military-style meals-ready-to eat) and trying to help everybody get by right now,” Pack said.

A military vehicle, known as a deuce-and-half, was used Tuesday to remove a woman from her home off Clark’s Neck Road and transport her through high water to an ambulance that took her to the hospital, Pack said.

Food and emergency-medical services are being provided in the VOA Road area, with EMS personnel “checking the health and welfare of the people that are around,” Pack said. “Law enforcement is continuing to secure the area. We highly discourage anyone from going in there, especially after dark. Law enforcement will do their job.”

“We’ll be happy when we get power on for 24 continuous hours without it going on and off,” Pack said. Late Tuesday afternoon, about 475 power customers were without power, Pack said, adding that number should be substantially less today.

Washington officials are taking several steps to prepare the city for flooding, including asking boaters to move their boats from the city docks. “They’re supposed to be moving out. The water is coming up, and we’re trying to run down some of the owners to get them up and out. … We’re trying to work with the boat owners and get the boats out because the tide is definitely coming in,” City Manager Bobby Roberson said Tuesday afternoon.

City crews will pump water out of Jack’s Creek to lower its level as much as possible, making it able to hold some, if not all, of the floodwaters coming down the Pamlico River, Roberson said. Also, city crews are making sure catch basins on streets are clear of debris so water can drain faster. City residents should not place storm debris on or near the catch basins, Roberson said.

About Mike Voss

Mike Voss is the contributing editor at the Washington Daily News. He has a daughter and four grandchildren. Except for nearly six years he worked at the Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg, Va., in the early to mid-1990s, he has been at the Daily News since April 1986.
Journalism awards:
• Pulitzer Prize for Meritorious Public Service, 1990.
• Society of Professional Journalists: Sigma Delta Chi Award, Bronze Medallion.
• Associated Press Managing Editors’ Public Service Award.
• Investigative Reporters & Editors’ Award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Public Service Award, 1989.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Investigative Reporting, 1990.
All those were for the articles he and Betty Gray wrote about the city’s contaminated water system in 1989-1990.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Investigative Reporting, 1991.
• North Carolina Press Association, Third Place, General News Reporting, 2005.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Lighter Columns, 2006.
Recently learned he will receive another award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Lighter Columns, 2010.
4. Lectured at or served on seminar panels at journalism schools at UNC-Chapel Hill, University of Maryland, Columbia University, Mary Washington University and Francis Marion University.

email author More by Mike