Raleigh, NC -- Gov. Bev Perdue will spend much of today assessing the state's response to Hurricane Irene. The remnants of the Category 1 storm left the state between 3 and 4 a.m.
"Our teams are on the ground from Emergency Management, the National Guard and other state and federal agencies, as well as volunteer organizations," Perdue said. "We will reach anyone who needs help as quickly as we can. Everyone needs to remember that, while Irene has left North Carolina, there are still very real dangers, such as: downed power lines, rising flood waters and fallen trees."
Six storm-related deaths have been reported with one each in Nash, Onslow, Sampson and Wayne counties, and two in Pitt County. Swift-water rescue teams have conducted dozens of rescues since late yesterday.
"We know there are numerous counties with substantial wind damage and flooding," Perdue said, "and these dangerous conditions are likely to continue throughout the day."
As of 11:30 a.m, 38 shelters remained housing more than 2,600 evacuees, down from a peak of more than 7,500 people in 81 shelters yesterday. Several of those shelters are accommodating evacuees with pets and some shelters have been opened to help medically fragile people. American Red Cross, North Carolina Baptist Men, Salvation Army and other volunteer groups have cooked more than 19,300 meals for evacuees and first responders.
More than 500,000 power outages remain. Utility crews from across the state, as well as other states, are headed down east to help restore power.
"We have confirmed a major breech on N.C. 12 about five miles north of Rodanthe in Dare County, and several other breeches have been reported on this highway," Perdue said. "State transportation crews are on the scene, and we will make every effort to restore this vital transportation link as soon as possible."
More than 200 roads and 21 bridges are closed in the state including major routes such as:
- US 17 in Windsor and US 17 Business in Hertford
- US 13 in Snow Hill
- US 158 in Gatesville
- US 70 in Beaufort
- US 264 near Washington, US 264 ALT in Walstonburg and in Tarboro
- NC 12 in Duck, Corolla, Manteo, Hatteras Island and the north end of Ocracoke
- NC 53 in Jacksonville
- NC 11 in Kinston
- NC 41 in Wallace and Beulaville
- NC 210 in Sneeds Feery
- and NC 903 in Beulaville
- NC 50 in Burgaw
- NC 561 in Halifax
- US 301 in Halifax County
State ports remain closed in Morehead City and Wilmington. All ferry routes are expected to resume service today once conditions are determined safe to do so. Airports in eastern North Carolina remain closed. No passenger trains will operate in the state today and there is no freight service east of Interstate 95. Normal operations may resume tomorrow, depending upon decisions by the railroads later today.
The Department of Corrections has relocated more than 1,800 inmates from Pamlico Correctional Institute in Bayboro, Hyde Correctional Institution in Swan Quarter and Tyrrell Prison Work Farm in Columbia.
Essential food, water and other supplies are in warehouses in Tarboro and Badin and distribution points have been established in Hyde and Carteret counties to begin dispensing supplies as needed.
The N.C. National Guard has 441 soldiers and airmen and two helicopters deployed with 2,100 troops and five helicopters on standby to help with storm response and recovery.
The State Highway Patrol has more than 300 troopers working down east to help with traffic control and storm response; more troopers are on standby if needed. Troopers have worked more than 150 collisions in eastern North Carolina since Friday night.
Gov. Perdue is expected to request a federal disaster declaration later today once she and state Emergency Management officials have had a chance to see some of the damage.
On Thursday, the president approved her request for a pre-landfall emergency declaration for 16 counties, authorizing appropriate federal assistance to protect lives, property, public health and safety.
On Wednesday, Perdue declared a State of Emergency in preparation for the oncoming hurricane. Local States of Emergency have been declared in 37 eastern and central counties, as well.
The governor's toll-free emergency information bilingual hotline remains staffed 24 hours a day to providing callers with information about where they can find safe shelter. English and Spanish-speaking people should call 1-888-835-9966. Deaf and hard-of-hearing people may call 711 (Relay N.C.)
For road and travel conditions call 511, visit www.ncdot.gov/travel or follow the N.C. Department of Transportation on Twitter at www.ncdot.gov/travel/twitter. Another option is NCDOT Mobile, a phone-friendly version of the NCDOT website. To access it, type "m.ncdot.gov" into the browser of your smartphone. NCDOT Mobile is compatible with the iPhone, Android and some newer Blackberry phones.
For updates on Hurricane Irene response and recovery, follow North Carolina Emergency Management on Twitter @NCEmergency. Facebook at www.facebook.com/NCEmergencyManagement and on the Crime Control and Public Safety website at www.nccrimecontrol.org.
NC Officer of the Governor