Morning News Briefs: Friday, September 14th, 2018
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Hurricane Center: Florence Close To Landfall In North Carolina
The National Hurricane Center said early Friday that Florence was about to make landfall in North Carolina bringing with it life-threatening storm surge and hurricane strength winds.
The powerful storm already has inundated coastal streets with ocean water and left tens of thousands without power, and forecasters say that "catastrophic" freshwater flooding is expected over portions of the Carolinas as Hurricane Florence inches closer to the U.S. East Coast.
Forsyth Emergency Services Offers Safety Tips As Hurricane Florence Approaches
With Hurricane Florence on the way, local emergency service agencies are urging residents to be cautious.
Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Emergency Services has been preparing since last week, monitoring the storm from an emergency operations center. There they’ve been having daily briefings with the National Weather Service, North Carolina Emergency Management and other partners.
Leigha Cordell is the logistics officer for the department. She says the best way to stay safe is to stay put.
“Once it hits us, if you don't have to get out in it, stay at home," says Cordell. "We're not expecting to be affected like they are on the coast, of course, but we are expecting heavy winds and rain, and that could potentially cause trees to fall and potential power outages.”
Cordell also suggests having at least three days of non-perishable foods available, and plenty of water on hand.
LJVM Coliseum Sheltering Evacuees
Evacuees are arriving in the Triad as Hurricane Florence closes in on the North Carolina coast. Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Winston-Salem has been turned into a shelter.
As of Thursday morning, there were around 25 evacuees at the shelter. Volunteers don’t know how many to expect, but they’re preparing for hundreds.
The evacuation shelter is run by the Red Cross and the state of North Carolina.
Hurricane Brings Concerns Over Agriculture Runoff From Poultry Waste In Yadkin River
Environmentalists are urging people to stay off the Yadkin River now, and in the days following Hurricane Florence because of tree debris and high water.
They’re also concerned about runoff from agricultural fields - especially poultry.
“Right now, our concern is that the spreading would have been done within the last few weeks before this hurricane was showing up as a big threat, and then obviously a possible rush to get any overflows spread before it gets here, so that they're not having to be deal with it onsite,” says Brian Fanon, the Yadkin Riverkeeper.
The Yadkin Riverkeeper is monitoring river levels and keeping an eye on possible changes in water quality from the storm.
Fannon says he will take samples after the storm to measure the amount of fecal material in the water. He encourages those who use the Yadkin River for recreation to wash their hands and shower after activities.
As People Evacuate Before Hurricane, Zoo Animals Move Inside
As 1.7 million people were urged to evacuate ahead of Hurricane Florence, workers at the North Carolina Zoo were trying to figure out what to do with 1,600 animals.
Staff at the 500-acre zoo near Asheboro rushed Wednesday to move elephants, giraffes, chimpanzees and hundreds of other species indoors to protect them from the storm's predicted formidable winds and torrential rain.
Spokeswoman Diane Villa says some of the larger animals — including bison and elk — will be put in fenced-in yards instead of barns because they do not like being in fully enclosed spaces.
But many other animals will be kept in barns.
A crew of zookeepers, veterinarians and park rangers will ride out the storm with the animals.