Residents and visitors should prepare their hurricane survival kits now

The City of New Bern is preparing for hurricane Isaias and is encouraging residents and visitors to do the same.

Although forecast models vary on the exact track of the storm, National Hurricane Center meteorologists are forecasting that eastern North Carolina will see some impacts from Isaias beginning early next week.

Right now, it appears the storm will move quickly up the coast, but its winds are increasing. This could mean widespread power outages, downed trees, significant storm debris and storm surge for New Bern.

City crews spent Thursday preparing the Emergency Operations Center on Highway 55. The center will remain on standby and will be mobilized ahead of the storm. Additionally, management staff met this morning to discuss staffing levels, current preparations, and possible scenarios and storm impacts.

Crews are topping off fuel levels in vehicles and equipment, checking supplies, making sure needs can be met for mitigating power outages, water and sewer emergencies, and debris removal.

“We will know more about the track of the storm in the next day or so, but we are encouraging residents to take this valuable time to check their hurricane survival kits, replenish supplies where needed, and prepare their properties ahead of the storm,” said Mark Stephens, City Manager. “Preparation is key and offers all of us the best chance at weathering the storm and rebounding more quickly.”

Supplemental and on-call staff are being scheduled for next week, although staging of crews will be different this year given the coronavirus pandemic.

“We are spreading out our crews and rethinking how we will stage everyone, conduct safety meetings, and deploy resources,” said Stephens. “It is important that we manage health risk as best as we can while also serving the public need. We are reducing staff numbers in the EOC and staging employees in other city buildings so we can communicate with them remotely, practice social distancing, and keep everyone safe.”

The City’s stormwater pumps located at Jack Smith Creek and East Rose Street will begin operating soon in an effort to increase floodwater capacity ahead of hurricane Isaias. During storms, these pumps come on automatically as water levels rise.

“The best thing you can do is make sure disaster kits are stocked and ready, have food and water supplies for each member of the family to last several days, have first aid supplies and medications handy as well as batteries, flashlights and a weather radio,” said City of New Bern Fire-Rescue Chief Bobby Boyd. ”And stay tuned to your favorite local television station for updates on the storm’s track and severity.”

If you are a city customer and you lose power, report it by using the website portal at www.NewBernNC.gov/poweroutage. Or, call at 252-636-4070. You do not need to speak to an operator. Leave a detailed message with your address, type of emergency, and contact info and an operator will call you back to ensure restoration. Water and sewer emergencies can be reported by calling the same number.

Residents are strongly encouraged to subscribe to the City’s emergency alert system, CodeRED. It’s free and alerts subscribers to emergencies within the community through text messaging, emails, or phone calls. You can sign up on the city website or download the CodeRED app to your smartphone. Or, you can text “New Bern alerts” to 99411 for instant updates to your smartphone.

The City will post additional storm updates and information, as necessary, to its social media platforms. Follow us on Twitter @CityofNewBern. Find us on Facebook at City of New Bern, NC Government. Or on Instagram at @cityofnewbern.

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