MOREHEAD CITY — Carteret County residents will have access to at least one shelter when Hurricane Dorian arrives late Wednesday or early Thursday morning.
During a Tuesday afternoon press conference outside the Carteret County Operations Center, Emergency Services Director Stephen Rea said residents will have access to Newport Middle School as a shelter, beginning Wednesday.
“The shelter will be open tomorrow around noon time or 1 p.m.,” County Manger Tommy Burns said.
The shelter at NMS is pet-friendly.
“This shelter will be pet-friendly for cats and dogs only. Only pets up to date on their rabies vaccination will be accepted. Residents bringing their cats or dogs will need to bring a kennel/crate, food and water for several days, food and water dishes, leash (you are responsible for walking your pet), medications, and toys or other comfort care items," according to a press release issued just after the conference.
County officials decision to designate a shelter ahead of Hurricane Dorian’s arrival is a departure from last year’s decision to hold out on opening shelters as long as possible. Mr. Rea and Mr. Burns said the county is applying lessons learned from last year’s storm.
“The preparation is no different…the preparation is the same.” Mr. Rea said. “We did learn some things from last year that we put into the forefront this year to make a smoother transition this year.”
County officials are asking county residents who choose to avail themselves of the shelter to bring a checklist of items. Those include infant supplies, water (one gallon per person, per day), medications, non-perishable food, a can opener, flashlight, personal hygiene items, clothing and personal documents.
As of presstime, the NMS shelter is the only one set to open in Carteret County.
While county offices will close at noon Wednesday, the Emergency Operations Center will continue to run even during the height of the storm, according to officials.
“It will remain staffed, continuously, until Hurricane Dorian no longer poses a threat to Carteret County,” reads the release.
County officials also touched on the areas under mandatory evacuation. These include Beaufort, Bogue Banks, the Down East area, Emerald Isle, Atlantic Beach and North River. All areas in the county not under a mandatory evacuation order are under a voluntary evacuation order.
“We’re asking (folks who choose to stay) to have plenty of food, water, medical supplies for at least 72 hours or three days,” Mr. Rea said. “Also understand that our resources might be slow getting to them. First responders might not be able to get to them right away. It just depends on how bad things are.”
Residents will also be able to make use of earlier Wednesday hours at the county’s solid waste sites. Sites will open at 7 a.m. Wednesday to allow residents to dispose of waste ahead of the storm. The sites will begin closing at 6 p.m. Wednesday evening.
As of now county officials are still tracking the storm’s path as it makes its way up the U.S. coast.
“We’re tracking the storm and the storm adjusts we’ll adjust our operations and response,” Mr. Burns said.
Contact Dean-Paul Stephens at 252-726-7081, ext. 232; email Dean@thenewstimes.com; or follow on Twitter @DeanPEStephens.