Richmond County Schools under 2-hour delay due to Irma winds

By: By Gavin Stone - [email protected]

Richmond County School wills operate on a two-hour delay Tuesday in anticipation for high winds and heavy rains overnight from what is now Tropical Storm Irma, according to Briana Goins, public information officer for the district.

“This will provide better visibility for our drivers as they run their routes tomorrow morning,” Goins said.

The school will still serve breakfast for students, according to Goins.

Monday morning rain cancelled the annual 9/11 memorial march, where first responders were to walk from the old courthouse to Walmart in honor of those who lost their lives in terrorist attacks 16 years ago.

Richmond County Emergency Services Director Donna Wright said Monday that there is a possibility that Richmond County could see some strong storms, weak tornadoes and minor flooding, which could lead to sporadic power outages on Tuesday.

Those sporadic outages started Monday afternoon, with Pee Dee Electric reporting a fluctuating number of customers without power throughout the evening.

Wright said her department is watching Irma’s path closely as it moves over Florida and further inland, receiving multiple daily weather updates through the National Weather Service and North Carolina Emergency Management.

The Richmond County Health Department, Richmond County Department of Social Services, Richmond County Schools and American Red Cross are in stand by mode to provide shelter should the storm intensify, she said.

“Our local equipment has been checked and tested,” Wright said in an email.

The county has prepared cots, blankets and comfort kits and other associated items for shelter operations. Wright said that the county expects between one to two inches of rain total from Irma.

The National Hurricane Center reported that the storm will reach Florida’s panhandle and southern Georgia Monday, moving through southwest Georgia and eastern Alabama Tuesday morning.

“According to the latest briefing, widespread down trees and power outages are not anticipated,” Wright said. “We will continue to monitor the storm and the associated weather that often accompanies these type of systems.”

Gov. Roy Cooper said at a Monday morning news conference that North Carolina could still see dangerous conditions despite Irma being downgraded from hurricane to tropical storm.

“Things are looking better for us, but we’re not out of the woods yet,” Cooper said.

Cooper said that the western part of the state could be vulnerable to mud and rock slides due to recent wildfires. He also warned coastal residents to be careful of rip currents.

Reach Gavin Stone at 910-817-2674.

By Gavin Stone

[email protected]