A view of Hurricane Florence is shown churning in the Atlantic Ocean in a west, north-westerly direction heading for the eastern coastline of the United States, taken by cameras outside the International Space Station, September 12, 2018. NASA/Handout via REUTERS

HICKORY – With Hurricane Florence forecasted to make landfall later this week, the City of Hickory has started making preparations for impacts from the storm. Potential threats from Hurricane Florence include powerful winds and heavy, sustained rainfall, which may result in downed trees, power outages, and localized flooding of low-lying areas.

City leaders and weather-essential personnel met today to discuss storm preparations and emergency management plans.

In preparation for the impending storm, the City of Hickory is implementing the following measures:

  • City departments are coordinating employee schedules to ensure continuous staffing throughout the duration of the storm, with additional crews on standby.
  • Trucks, machinery, and equipment are being checked, fueled, and repaired, if needed.
  • Chain saws are being sharpened, oiled, and tested.
  • City crews are inspecting storm drain systems, cleaning grates, and examining creek crossings. Crews are also identifying low-lying areas that may be at risk of flooding.
  • Generators and radio communications equipment are being tested to ensure they are in working order and prepared for use.
  • Emergency Management, Fire, Police, and Public Services personnel will continue to monitor the weather, as predictions vary as to the impact of the storm locally.
  • If necessary, the City will open an Emergency Operations Center to coordinate operations between Fire, Police, and Public Services.

As City crews prepare for the storm, Hickory residents are likewise encouraged to make preparations and follow the safety tips listed below:

  • Stock up on emergency provisions, including bottled water, nonperishable food items for three to seven days for each family member, prescription medications, first aid kits, flashlights, diapers for small children, a battery-powered radio, and extra batteries. Have these items in place at home, at work, and in the car.
  • Have at least one gallon of water per person, per day.
  • Create an emergency communication plan with your family before the hurricane. Know where family members will be during the storm and how to get in touch with them.
  • Check your insurance coverage, gather important documents, and take inventory of personal property/belongings in case of flooding and/or wind damage.
  • Remove debris along curb lines and on top of storm drain grates near your home before the storm starts. Also, inspect and clear gutters and downspouts on your home.
  • Secure or bring in outdoor furniture, grills, hanging plants, and yard decorations that pose a hazard in high winds.
  • Remember to plan for your pets. Bring in outdoor pets, or make provisions to ensure their safety. Make sure you have sufficient food and water available for pets, as well.
  • Charge mobile devices, and battery storage devices, to ensure you have access to communication channels.
  • In the event of flooding, DO NOT wade, swim, or drive through flood waters.
  • If you lose power, DO NOT bring charcoal grills or generators into your home or the garage. These items produce carbon monoxide, a colorless, odorless, and tasteless gas, which can be deadly when used in enclosed spaces.
  • Report power outages to Duke Energy online at www.duke-energy.com/outages, or by texting “OUT” to 57801. Duke Energy Carolinas customers can also call (800) 769-3766, and Duke Energy Progress customers can call (800) 419-6356 to report outages and downed power lines.
  • For life-threatening emergencies, call 911.

Additional recommendations on how to prepare for the storm are available online at www.Ready.gov or by downloading the ReadyNC app to your smartphone.

The City of Hickory plans to keep citizens informed via media releases, website updates, and social media platforms. Be sure to follow the City of Hickory on Facebook at www.facebook.com/cityofhickory and on Twitter at @CityofHickory. To receive important hurricane information and local emergency notifications, please sign up for CodeRED emergency notification alerts under the “How Do I” navigation tab at www.HickoryNC.gov.