LUMBERTON, N.C. (WMBF) - Officials in Robeson County are closely monitoring Hurricane Dorian as it draws nearer to the Carolina coast.
Officials held a news conference Wednesday afternoon at the county’s Emergency Operations Center to discuss the storm’s potential impacts in the area and the county’s preparations.
Emergency Management Director Stephanie Chavis said the biggest concerns this time around are heavy rain, but mostly strong winds causing uprooted trees and road signs, as well as roof damage.
“Roads maybe blocked in many areas as a result of large debris, especially heavily wooded areas. Bridges and elevated roadways may very well become unsafe. Do not cross flooded roadways, turn around, don’t drown,” Chavis said.
County manager Kellie Blue said they declared a state of emergency for the county on Tuesday.
They’ve requested packs of water and food from the state emergency management department, as well putting National Guard members on standby.
“They have been previously tested with both Hurricane Matthew, as well as Hurricane Florence. Our partners, our stake holders are ready to respond as called, but we cannot weather this storm alone. We ask residents of our county to plan, prepare and stay informed,” Blue said.
Meanwhile, over by West Lumberton Baptist Church, crews are building a dam along the CSX railroad to reduce any risk of flooding from heavy rain.
Pastor Rick Foreman who said they’ve spent well over $2 million in church repairs from the two previous hurricanes believes the structure will help during Hurricane Dorian and future storms.
"Although we’re not expecting catastrophic results like we’ve had, the storm just has to shift just a little bit and we might be right back in that same place so we always want to prepare,” Foreman said.
Two shelters are open if you need somewhere to go: Lumberton High School and Purnell Swett High School.
The Robeson County Animal Shelter is taking pets until 5 p.m. Thursday.
There are four numbers to call if you’re in need of assistance:
- Emergency Operation Center Public Numbers