Residents & visitors should prepare their storm survival kits now
As Hurricane Idalia begins its journey up the southeastern seaboard, the City of New Bern is preparing for storm impacts and is encouraging residents and visitors to do the same. The hurricane is expected to weaken as it approaches the Carolinas, with tropical storm force winds approaching our coast as early as Wednesday evening. The National Weather Service is predicting that the storm will head east and out to sea by late Thursday night.
Residents and visitors should expect heavy rain, increasing winds and wind gusts, flash flooding, and minor storm surge. City crews are preparing for the possibility of scattered power outages as Idalia’s winds increase.
City staff are spending today and tomorrow preparing for the storm. The City’s Emergency Operations Center on Highway 55 is on standby and will be mobilized if necessary. Crews are topping off fuel levels in vehicles and equipment, testing generators, checking supplies, and making sure needs can be met for mitigating power outages, water and sewer emergencies, and debris removal. Supplemental and on-call staff are being scheduled for the remainder of the week.
The City’s stormwater pumps located at Jack Smith Creek and East Rose Street are prepped and ready and will come on automatically as water levels rise. The forecast is currently calling for 4-8” of rain east of Interstate 95 and along the coast.
“We will know more about the track of the storm later this afternoon,” said Foster Hughes, City Manager. “But we’re encouraging folks now to be prepared. Get your property ready and prepare a survival kit in the event of power outages and the possibility of wind-driven, falling debris.”
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has a comprehensive list of survival kit supplies on its website, www.Ready.gov, to help you prepare for storm season. Preparation is key to surviving and recovering from storm events:
-Water – one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days
-Food – at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food and a can opener, paper plates, utensils, cups and paper towels, as well as food for your pet
-Battery-powered radio and a NOAA Weather Radio and extra batteries for both
-Flashlights and extra batteries
-First aid kit
-Prescription medications and glasses, contacts, contact lens care supplies
-Children’s needs: diapers, infant formula, baby bottles, blankets, medications
-Cell phone and any other computer accessories with their chargers, inverters, or a solar charger
-Trash bags, sanitary wipes, basic tools
-Books and toys for kids, don’t forget toys and leashes for your pets
In addition to packing your survival kit, there is a way you can help the City and your neighborhood in anticipation of Idalia’s heavy rain and flash flooding. “If there is a stormwater drain in front of your house or in your neighborhood, make sure it is clear of leaves, pine straw, litter and other debris,” said George Chiles, Director of Public Works. “That will help stormwater flow unimpeded and drain as quickly as possible.” Today, Public Works crews are out checking stormwater infrastructure and cleaning poor drainage areas. Trash and recycling customers are also asked to make sure their receptacles are not in the drainage line in front of their homes, which can also impede stormwater flow. Currently, trash and recycling schedules are running as normal. The City will share information across all of its communications platforms if trash and recycling schedules are suspended or delayed due to the weather.
If you are a city customer and you lose power, report it by using our website portal at newbernnc.gov/poweroutage, 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. If there is a cell phone number associated with your utility account, you will automatically receive a text message in the event of a power outage.
Residents are strongly encouraged to subscribe to the City’s emergency and general notification system, New Bern Alerts. It’s free and alerts subscribers to emergencies and general info through text messaging, emails, or phone calls. You can sign up by visiting newbernnc.gov/NewBernAlerts. Or you can download the myAlerts app to your smartphone for instant alerts issued by the National Weather Service.
The City will post additional storm updates and information, as necessary, to its social media platforms. Find us on Facebook at City of New Bern, NC Government or on Instagram at @cityofnewbern. Updates will also be posted on the homepage of our website at NewBernNC.gov.
By Colleen Roberts