Although the forecast track for hurricane Matthew 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 the storm could pose a threat to the United States by week’s end, but forecast models vary widely as to where or if the hurricane will make landfall.
“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 storm supplies in place and ready to go should we need them,” said City Manager Mark Stephens. City management staff met this morning to discuss possible scenarios and storm impacts from hurricane Matthew as well as current preparations.
The City’s Emergency Operations Center (EOC) on Highway 55 will be set up on Wednesday and will remain on standby for mobilization ahead of the storm. Management staff are scheduling supplemental and on-call staff for week’s end and throughout the weekend. Staff are checking supplies at the city 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 over the next couple of days.
“This will be a challenging week given that we are preparing for Mumfest at the same time,” said Mr. Stephens. “At some point, we will switch solely to hurricane preparations if the storm is forecast to significantly impact New Bern.”
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 Matthew. During storms, these pumps come on automatically as water levels rise.
“We are encouraging residents to prepare now in the event of this storm,” said City of New Bern Fire-Rescue Chief Bobby Boyd. “Make sure disaster kits are stocked and ready, 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.”
If you are a city customer and you lose power, report it by using our website portal at NewBern-NC.org. “Report a Power, Water, or Sewer Emergency” is located right on the homepage. 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. Everything comes together here.
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.
Submitted by: Colleen Roberts, Public Information Officer, City of New Bern