Governor declares NC Hurricane Preparedness Month

Published 7:27 pm Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Aug. 27, 2011; Sept. 6, 1996; Oct. 8, 2016. If the dates ring a bell, there’s a reason. On those days, eastern North Carolina was hit by some of the more damaging hurricanes in the state’s history.

As Hurricane Florence currently wanders across the Atlantic Ocean, and another tropical depression is forming right behind it, Gov. Roy Cooper has declared September to be North Carolina Hurricane Preparedness Month, as storm activity typically increases toward the latter part of summer and early fall.

“North Carolinians are resilient and have endured hurricanes, floods, tornadoes, mudslides, wildfires, winter storms and more,” Cooper said in a released statement. “We know that planning and preparation pay off when a disaster strikes. Having simple emergency plans and basic supplies in place will help you survive storms and recover faster.”

The governor and Public Safety Secretary Erik A. Hooks encourage residents to create a hurricane plan for the family and gather basic supplies now, without a threat looming overhead. It’s a course of action with which local emergency management agrees.

“The climate, in general, is not a bad as we thought it would be, but it does not mean we’re out of the woods,” said Beaufort County Chief of Fire/Emergency Management Chris Newkirk in a previous interview. “We’ve still got months of hurricane season left. We’re going into what has historically been our most active part of the season.”

In the past, those storms have proven to be both costly and deadly.

Hurricane Matthew (Oct. 8, 2016) dumped between eight and 12 inches of rain across eastern North Carolina, closing more than 600 roads. Thirty-one people died as a result and the storm did $4.8 billion worth of damage.

Hurricane Irene (Aug. 27, 2011) came with a storm surge that measured up to 15 feet in some areas along the Pamlico Sound. Two hundred and seventy roads were closed; there were 660,000 power outages. Seven people died and more than $686 million in damages to property and agricultural were recorded.

Those two storms made landfall as Category 1 hurricanes, but Hurricane Fran was a Category 3 storm when it hit near Cape Fear on Sept. 6, 1996. Twenty-four people died, and, for the first time in North Carolina history, a state of emergency was declared for all 100 counties.

As a tropical storm hits North Carolina an average of every two years, the state could be due for another. Visit for assistance in planning and preparing for a hurricane; visit the county website at to sign up for Hyper-Reach, and get automatic emergency notifications from the county through texts, emails and/or phone calls.