RALEIGH, NC (WMBF) – NC Gov. Bev Perdue sent a letter to President Barack Obama on Wednesday requesting a federal pre-landfall emergency declaration.
Gov. Perdue requested the declaration in anticipation of damages to North Carolina caused by Hurricane Earl. The declaration opens federal assets to help government agencies respond to potential disaster.
"Hurricane Earl is gaining strength and its projected path leads to North Carolina," Perdue said. "We've had a history of hurricanes, and we want to be prepared with the necessary federal aid to completely recover from any significant damage."
The Governor declared a State of Emergency this afternoon. As part of the state's preparations, she activated 81 members of the National Guard with an additional 151 members of standby.
Swift water rescue teams are on standby and available to assist if needed. She has also directed the State Highway Patrol to assist with evacuations ordered by local governments.
If approved, the declaration would allow North Carolina to gain federal support for emergency protective measures such as the use of the NC National Guard, State Highway Patrol, NC Department of Transportation, opening shelters and providing other resources as needed.
At the state's request, Federal Emergency Management Agency pre-positioned personnel and emergency relief supplies in the state prior to the storm. State and federal damage assessment teams will be sent throughout Eastern North Carolina following Hurricane Earl to determine if there is enough damage to qualify for federal assistance.
Evacuations of Hatteras and Ocracoke islands and parts of Carteret County continue. An emergency shelter is open in Pitt County at North Pitt High School in Bethel.
Residents of Eastern North Carolina are reminded to monitor weather forecasts and heed directions of emergency officials.
All ferries are operating under their normal schedules today. There are boats on standby in case of emergency and service is scheduled to resume in the morning.