KITTY HAWK, N.C. (WAVY) – A state of emergency is now in effect for North Carolina. This is ahead of Hurricane Isaias, which is expected to reach the Outer Banks in the coming days.
”I can hope that we don’t get it, and if we do, I hope that it is short-lived,” said Kitty Hawk Mayor Gary Perry.
There is only one way to sum up this summer season for the Outer Banks.
“I asked everybody this morning in the staff meeting if they got the memo,” Perry added. “They looked at me and I said ‘The memo that said 2020 sucks.’”
After losing weeks of money due to the pandemic, the area is bracing for another potential blow. This a familiar foe in Mother Nature.
“The concern is, right now, we don’t what direction it is coming from,” Perry said.
On Friday, you’d have no idea that a storm was on the horizon. The beaches were full of people who were socially-distanced.
“We like to say here in the Outer Banks that you would hope for the best and prepare for the worst,” added Kill Devil Hills Mayor Ben Sproul.
So far, no evacuations for Dare County have been ordered, but there are evacuation orders for Ocracoke island. Sproul says if that happens, it could be different because of COVID-19.
“As people usually make their hurricane preparations, that means leaving town to go visit friends or family in some other area,” Sproul said. “You have to be careful to have masks and social distancing right now. You’d hate to have some more cases because of that trip.”
“We never really know if this little almost Cat 1 will be a Cat 2 before you know it, so you have to prepare for any eventuality,” Sproul added.
Sproul said in the event of an evacuation, some residents without nearby family or friends can utilize a network of state and Red Cross supported shelters off of the Outer Banks.
While they hope they won’t need to set up shelters, they need to find volunteers just in case. Sproul explained to 10 On Your Side why this storm is different.
“These shelters that are set up usually with the Red Cross and others are staffed by folks a lot of times retirees, folks that are looking for something to do that volunteer their time for all sorts of things. But in this new COVID era you really have to worry about the vulnerability of folks over a certain age and when that’s the primary volunteer group, yeah they’re putting out the word at the state level if you’re young and you want to volunteer we need you — the state needs you.”
If emergency shelters are opened during the storm, the locations will be listed at this link.