ROCKINGHAM — Hurricane Florence was upgraded to a Category 4 storm Monday afternoon, making it all the more critical that Richmond County residents take the necessary steps to stay safe.
The hurricane could make landfall by Thursday night or early Friday morning, according to Richmond County Emergency Services officials. The storm has the potential to produce strong, gusty winds and heavy rains. This could result in localized flooding and downed trees that could cause power outages.
Emergency Services advises that residents be prepared to be self-sustaining for at least three days. Here are some safety basics:
— Have a minimum of a gallon of water for each person in your household per day.
— Keep foods that don’t require cooking or heating available to eat.
— If you power does go out, please do not call 9-1-1. Call your service provider: Duke Energy Progress at 1-800-419-6345 or Pee Dee Electric at 1-800-693-0190
— Make sure you have a battery powered radio and extra batteries.
— Have a cell phone with charger.
— Have a flashlight with extra batteries.
— Have anti-bacterial hand wipes or gel.
Some things you can do to prepare your home for this storm:
— Remove items from your porch. Store outside furniture, and toys and others items that could become flying debris during high winds inside
— Reinforce garage doors so high winds will not cause them to collapse.
— Secure pets.
— Make sure you have plenty of gas in your vehicle in case you are required to leave.
Don’t go out during the storm unless it is an emergency. It is also best not to attempt to drive through flooded roadways. Instead find an alternate route to your destination. It only takes an inch of water to move a vehicle.
County Emergency Services does not anticipate opening shelters before the storm, but should that change, information will be disseminated through news and social media.
Residents can download the ReadyNC app through Google Play or through Apple. This app will provide tips and important information, such as road closures and conditions, shelter openings, local weather, power outages and evacuations. This app is free to download.
For more tips on emergency preparedness, go to FEMA’s website at https://www.fema.gov/.