Damage from Irene Assessed by North Carolina Governor

By By Aimee Morgan, AccuWeather.com contributing writer
October 24, 2012, 3:16:15 PM EDT

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Gov. Beverly Perdue urged the residents of North Carolina to 'please stay inside' at a press conference Saturday morning. As the Category 2 Hurricane Irene made landfall near Cape Lookout early Saturday morning, Perdue kept many counties on her watch list.

According to Ernie Seneca, Spokesman for North Carolina Emergency Management, Gov. Purdue is assessing the damages that were on the watch list, including: Jones, Craven, Cataret and Dare Counties Sunday.

"We are still assessing the damage. First, we have to go out and look at the damage and figure out the dollar amount to replace it," said Seneca in a phone interview. "We were well prepared. Local, state and federal partners were positioned strategically to help with rescues and damages."

Reports from a National Weather Service employee show trees and power lines down in Craven and neighboring counties making most roads impassible and leaving more than 80 percent without power. In Cateret County, reports from the Department of Highways had wind gusts up to 115 miles per hour at Cedar Island Ferry Terminal.

“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," she said in the State of North Carolina office of Governor press release.

Although Irene has left North Carolina, its aftermath has left residents with flooding, debris, fallen trees and a few fatalities.

"There are six confirmed fatalities, the latest death occurring after a tree fell on a home in Pitt County, killing a resident inside," explained Seneca.

"We have boots on the ground," says Jeff Gordon, Pubic Information Officer for North Carolina State Highway Patrol regarding the states highways assessment.

According to Gordon, as of Sunday morning, 21 bridges and 228 roads have been closed due to major flooding and downed trees and power lines.

One of the vital transportation links that has been affected is N.C. 12 about five miles north of Rodanthe in Dare County.

"Highway 12 is prone to over-wash. This is an actual breach. We are also working closely with locals, and emergency response to canvas the area."

"The concerns we had [regarding Irene] were high winds, storm surge, flooding and over-wash on coastal roads," Seneca said.

Near Highway 64 a major transmission line for Dominion Electric has been damaged, prompting crews from Georgia Power to be called to assist.

"The Department of Transportation is working feverishly to assess the roadways, moving debris and power lines," said Gordon.

The eastern part of the state has 'the brunt of rain and damage.'

AP reports House Speaker Thom Tillis and Senate leader Phil Berger said Sunday the Legislature stands ready to support Gov. Beverly Perdue and other state officials in the storm's aftermath. The two legislators planned to tour agricultural damage from the storm with fellow Republican Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler.

According to the State of North Carolina office of Governor press release, 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.

"We got folks out there working hard and will continue to do so till the job gets done," says Seneca.

By Aimee Morgan, AccuWeather Staff Writer

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