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11AM HURRICANE UPDATE: Gov. Cooper gives press briefing, Dorian is back down to a Cat 2

As of the 11 a.m. National Hurricane Center NOAA update, Hurricane Dorian is back down to a Cat 2, with winds at 110 mph (last update was a Cat 3 at 115 mph). It’s moving 8 mph, located 140 miles south-southwest of Wilmington, NC.

Dorian brought winds and rains to Wilmington early Thursday morning. In between high wind squalls, ongoing tornado warnings and watches, and heavy rains have been blocks of calm. The Farm at Brunswick in Calabash, NC, already endured a tornado this morning, which damaged multiple homes. Dorian will continue bringing hurricane conditions throughout the day and intensifying Thursday evening into early Friday morning.

Governor Cooper held a press conference at 10 a.m. in Raleigh at the Department of Public Safety with state officials. They assured highway patrol was on hand to assess any blockings from debris and/or flooding on the roadways. Col. Glenn McNeill was clear his troopers were ready to deploy at a moment’s notice for quick response; however, he urged citizens affected by Dorian to stay put.

“Do not travel as roadways receive heavy rains and winds,” Col. McNeill noted. “Do not drive through flooded roadways; it’s very dangerous. Avoid 9-1-1 or star HP to inquire on roadway conditions. Please, keep them open for emergencies only.”

NC secretary for the Department of Transportation, Gen. Jim Trogdon, noted that US 17 between Leland and Shallotte is closed from debris and high winds. He assured the section will reopen as soon as possible. He also reassured Dorian won’t conjure the same flooding as previous hurricanes.

“We don’t anticipate the same volume of water from Florence or Michael, but there are pockets that could see flash flooding,” Gen. Trogdon says. “We have worked closely with emergency management and added 40 more string gauges to help predict worsening conditions, but we won’t see same damage as broad spread, like into Greensboro or Winston Salem.”

However, Gov. Cooper suggested folks log onto fiman.nc.gov to learn more about rivers and waterways nearby that have the potential to flood.

The DOT is using drones to help speed up the time in which they assess damage and get materials needed to correct roads. “We can see what’s impacted and compress the time to fix them,” Trogdon says.

As well 16 aircrafts are ready for rescue and general support. Officials have multiple ambulances on call, ready to help as needed. “When the storm passes and if barrier islands need quick search and rescue, we have enough.”

Shelters across the state are up and running, including the state shelter in Durham, which isn’t close to being at capacity. Locally, Blair and Codington are full; Eaton, the third shelter that opened yesterday, has openings. Officials noted they have the ability to open more medical support shelters if needed.

Log onto ncdps.gov/dorian2019 for more information and press briefing updates.

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