On-street parking violations are subject to a $250 fine

PENDER COUNTY – To give fire and emergency apparatus unobstructed access, the North Carolina general statute orders all roadways must be passable.

“In housing developments where parking on the street occurs, especially near a fire hydrant, this can be a serious concern and a violation of state statute,” said Pender County Deputy Fire Marshal Amy Burton.

State law mandates fire apparatus must have an unobstructed width of not less than 20-ft., not including road shoulders, and a vertical clearance of not less than 13-feet 6 inches.

“State statute specifically notates the parking of vehicles along a street,” said Burton. “Every street, especially in heavily populated areas, must be clear for emergency vehicles at all times.”

North Carolina General Statute 20-162 details the law concerning parking near fire hydrants, in front of private driveways, near intersections, and parking in fire lanes. The statute also gives law enforcement the authority to remove vehicles.

“Pender County fire code officials have the authority to issue civil citations, and/or remove vehicles,” said Burton. “Fines can be as high as $250, per citation, according to state law.”

“To ensure the safety of our residents and their properties, we urge all neighborhoods to evaluate all street parking. Residents with concerns regarding obstructed access should call the fire marshal’s office,” said Burton.

Community feedback sought to identify Cape Fear and Albemarle regions’ community climate hazards

Regional Resilience Portfolio Program workshop will offer local support for growth and stability

RALEIGH, N.C. – Community members from the Cape Fear council of government regions (Brunswick, Columbus, New Hanover and Pender counties) and the Albemarle council of government regions (Camden, Chowan, Currituck, Dare, Gates, Hyde, Pasquotank, Perquimans, Tyrrell and Washington counties) are invited to attend an online public workshop to discuss and identify locations that are subject to damage or loss due to climate hazards. Workshop attendees will also be provided an opportunity to share personal experiences with disaster preparedness and recovery. An initiative of the Regional Resilience Portfolio Program, the workshop is an opportunity for residents to provide direct input on the development of a regional vulnerability assessment. The assessment will be released for public comment before it is finalized and used to create a portfolio of priority community resiliency projects.

The Regional Resilience Portfolio Program is a component of the larger Regions Innovating for Strong Economies & Environment (RISE) Program. RISE is a partnership between the N.C. Office of Recovery and Resiliency (NCORR) and N.C. Rural Center, in collaboration with the N.C. Councils of Governments.

The Regional Resilience Portfolio Program serves the following council of governments regions: Kerr-Tar, Upper Coastal Plain, Albemarle, Mid-Carolina, Mid-East, Lumber River, Cape Fear, Eastern Carolina and Triangle J (except for Wake, Durham and Orange counties). A list of counties for each region can be found on the RISE website, along with a program kickoff announcement.

Members of the public who wish to attend the April virtual meetings should follow the steps below to register online for one of the workshops:

Cape Fear Council of Governments Region Public Workshops
April 7, 10 – 11 a.m. and 6 – 7 p.m.
Register at: https://form.jotform.com/220743857526159
Deadline: April 6

Albemarle Commission Region Public Workshops
April 7, 5:30 – 6:30 p.m.
April 8, 1:30 – 2:30 p.m.
April 9, 10 – 11 a.m.
Register at: https://form.jotform.com/220744585126154
Deadline: April 6

RISE is funded by a $1.1 million U.S. Economic Development Administration grant, with support from both NCORR and N.C. Rural Center. The Duke Energy Foundation has committed $600,000 to offer Accelerator Grants to the regions for priority projects identified as an outcome of the program. RISE is managed by NCORR, a division of the N.C. Department of Public Safety. To learn more about the program or what’s happening in each council of government region, visit the RISE website.

March 6-12 is Severe Weather Preparedness Week

Governor Cooper Reminds North Carolinians to Prepare for Severe Weather

RALEIGH: Governor Roy Cooper has proclaimed March 6-12 as Severe Weather Preparedness Week and is urging North Carolinians to prepare for severe weather that’s common during spring months.

“North Carolina is no stranger to severe weather, and while spring is typically the most active season for thunderstorms and tornadoes, they can happen any time,” Governor Cooper said. “Help protect your family by being prepared for severe weather. Make sure you have an up-to-date emergency kit, a way to receive alerts about dangerous weather, and a preparedness plan to review with everyone in your household.”

Governor Cooper also encourages North Carolinians to participate in this year’s statewide tornado drill on Wednesday, March 9 at 9:30 a.m. At home or at work, that means seeking shelter on the lowest floor of your home or building, in an interior room away from doors or windows.

Tornadoes form during severe thunderstorms when winds change direction and increase in speed. These storms can produce large hail and damaging winds that can reach 300 miles per hour. A tornado can develop rapidly with little warning, so having a plan in place will allow you to respond quickly.

“I encourage everyone to participate in this year’s statewide tornado drill, at home, at work, or at school. Having a plan and knowing your designated safe places will go a long way to helping you survive an actual tornado,” said Emergency Management Director Will Ray.

Test messages will be broadcast via the Emergency Alert System on radio and TV and on National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) weather radios at 9:30 a.m. on Wednesday, March 9, signaling the start of the tornado drill.

Across the state in 2021, North Carolina recorded 21 tornado touchdowns, 101 large hail storms, 344 damaging thunderstorm wind events, 109 flood or flash flood events, which includes the remnants from Tropical Storm Fred that caused deadly flooding in Western North Carolina.

Emergency Management officials recommend the following safety tips:
• Develop a family emergency plan so each member knows what to do, where to go, and who to call during an emergency.
• If thunder roars, go indoors! Lightning is close enough to strike you.
• Know where the nearest safe room is, such as a basement or interior room away from windows.
• Know the terms: WATCH means severe weather is possible. WARNING means severe weather is occurring; take shelter immediately.
• Assemble an emergency supply kit for use at home or in your vehicle. Make sure to include a 3-day supply of non-perishable food and bottled water.
• If driving, leave your vehicle immediately to seek shelter in a safe structure. Do not try to outrun a tornado in your vehicle and do not stop under an overpass or bridge.
• If there is no shelter available, take cover in a low-lying flat area.

Find more information on tornadoes and overall emergency preparedness online at ReadyNC.gov.

Read the Proclamation.

Local Emergency Planning Committee highlights disaster preparedness

NEW HANOVER COUNTY – More than two dozen government agencies from Pender and New Hanover counties, several local municipalities, and private business partners from across the region came together at the Wilmington Convention Center on Feb. 3 for the first conference of the New Hanover and Pender Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC).

The event was an opportunity for officials in the public and private sectors to discuss, review and develop a deeper understanding of the needs and strategies necessary to collaborate and successfully navigate an emergency, should it arise.

“Working together when a disaster happens, whether it’s a natural event or something caused by human error, is so important to keep our communities safe. This was a chance to really dive into what that looks like,” said New Hanover County Emergency Management Technician and event conference coordinator Teresa Smith. “In Southeastern North Carolina, we know a lot about hurricanes and flooding, but those aren’t the only type of disasters that could potentially impact our area. Being prepared for an array of events and scenarios is so critical to safety.”

The conference opened with a welcome by Pender County Chairman David Piepmeyer who stressed the importance of regional collaboration. The event was bookended by two speakers who drove home the importance of being prepared. Charleston firefighter Dr. David Griffin opened the day with an emotional presentation about the 2007 fire at a furniture store in Charleston that left nine firefighters dead and how that moment reshaped the training and skill development of firefighters in the city and across the country. Pender County Fire Marshall Mark Haraway closed the gathering by discussing his role as Fire Chief and Emergency Management director for the town of Apex during a chemical fire back in 2007 at the Environmental Quality Industrial Services plant that made international headlines.

In between those presentations, more than 200 attendees heard from and asked questions of local and state health officials, staff at General Electric, the National Weather Service, community service providers and others about things to consider when developing plans for a major event.

“Hearing from people who have lived through these types of catastrophic events truly drives home just how crucial it is to be prepared and have those open lines of communication between our public and private partners in the LEPC,” said Pender County Emergency Management Director Tommy Batson. “We certainly hope this training and these partnerships are something we never have to call upon, but we also know it could be the thing that leads to a decision that saves someone’s life.”

Partners in the LEPC include New Hanover County Emergency Management, Pender County Emergency Management, City of Wilmington Emergency Management, Town of Carolina Beach, New Hanover County Commissioners Office (with Commissioner Jonathan Barfield, Jr. serving as the representative), New Hanover County Public Health, New Hanover County Fire Rescue, City of Wilmington Fire Department, Pender County Health Department, UNCW Emergency Management, NC Emergency Management, NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources, NC Department of Environmental Quality, NC Department of Transportation, US Coast Guard, Acme Smoked Fish, Airgas, Alcami, American Red Cross, Buckeye Terminal, Colonial Terminal, Cape Fear Public Utility Authority, Celanese, Corning, Duke Energy Sutton Plant, Elementis, GE/ GE Hitachi, HEPACO, Kinder Morgan, NC State Port Authority, Novant Health NHRMC, Piedmont Natural Gas, Praxair, SeaSafety, SR&R Environmental, Stepan, and Sturdy Corporation.

The LEPC is responsible for SARA Title III environmental compliance, HAZMAT training and exercises, site-specific chemical planning programs, coordination of chemical information to emergency responders, and maintenance of the county-wide HAZMAT Incident Management Plan.

Conference planning staff included representatives from New Hanover County Emergency Management, Pender County Emergency Management, New Hanover County Fire Rescue, City of Wilmington Fire, City of Wilmington Emergency Management, American Red Cross, and New Hanover County Public Health.

Delayed opening scheduled at Holly Shelter Shooting Range, Jan. 29

BURGAW – Pender County Parks and Recreation announced, due to predicted winter weather, the Holly Shelter Shooting Range will open Saturday, Jan. 29, at noon.

“For the safety of our visitors and staff, we are issuing a delayed opening time,” said Dee Turner from Pender County Parks and Recreation.

For updates, closings, and storm-related information, be sure to follow the county website, www.pendercountync.gov, Pender County’s Facebook page, the Holly Shelter Shooting Range Facebook page, or the Pender County Emergency Management Facebook page.


For storm alerts, residents may register for CodeRed alerts, a free service of the county emergency management department. Sign up at www.pendercountync.gov/em or call 910-259-1210.

Water line break impacts southern portions of Hampstead area, boil water alert

System Pressure Advisory for portions of Hampstead-area
Water customers of Pender County, from Hwy 17 / Whitebridge Road to 469 Whitebridge Road including all roads and side roads including, Mare Pond Place, Holly Grove Lane, Otter Pond Lane, Saddlebrook Lane, and East Rolling Meadows Road, will be without water or will have low water pressure.
Repairs are underway and customers will be without water for several hours.
The cause of the break is due to construction damage.
Water service will be returned upon completion of the work.
Periods of low or no pressure in the distribution system increase the potential for back siphonage and the introduction of bacteria into the water system. Therefore, consumers in the area noted above are advised to boil all water used for human consumption (including drinking, making ice, brushing teeth, washing dishes, and food preparation) or use bottled water until this advisory is lifted.
This advisory will be in effect for a minimum of 24 hours. Vigorous boiling for one (1) minute should kill any disease-causing organisms that may be present in the water. Water customers are strongly urged to conserve water whenever possible.
This advisory remains in effect until further written notification is issued.

Pender County Emergency Management partners with American Red Cross to “Sound the Alarm”

Free smoke detectors available to Burgaw and Atkinson

BURGAW – Pender County Emergency Management and local fire departments are partnering with the American Red Cross to provide free information and smoke detectors to members of the Burgaw and Atkinson communities.

“Smoke detectors save lives,” said Pender County Fire Marshal Mark Haraway. “A working smoke detector is essential to protect you and your family – especially at night.”

Haraway explained that when sleeping, the sense of smell is not as sensitive. However, the piercing sound of a working smoke detector will awaken families with enough time to escape a home fire.

Residents who need a smoke detector should call Pender County Emergency Management at 910-259-1210 or register online at www.tinyurl.com/pendersmokealarms.

“Our initial round of smoke detectors is limited,” said Haraway. “We encourage residents of Burgaw and Atkinson who need a working smoke detector to call or fill out the online request. We will be receiving additional smoke detectors in the coming months and plan to distribute those units throughout Pender County.”

The smoke detectors provided through “Sound the Alarm” are extended life units with a lithium power cell and do not require additional batteries.

Installation is available for families on limited or fixed incomes.

The program, “Sound the Alarm” will take place Feb. 5, from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. “Sound the Alarm” is a national movement and pledge to keep families safe against home fires. Corporate sponsors for this program include Delta Airlines, FEMA, Lowe’s, NC Blue Cross Blue Shield, and Pender County Emergency Management.

Weekend closures for county offices, libraries, shooting range

Pender County Libraries and Shooting Range to close this weekend

BURGAW – Pender County libraries will remain closed Saturday due to the winter storm.

The Holly Shelter Shooting Range will remain closed Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 22-23, also due to the wintry mix that is impacting North Carolina.

For updates, closings, and storm-related information, be sure to follow the county website, www.pendercountync.gov, Pender County’s Facebook page, and the Pender County Emergency Management Facebook page.

For storm alerts, residents may register for CodeRed alerts, a free service of the county emergency management department. Sign up at www.pendercountync.gov/em or call 910-259-1210.

System Pressure Advisory – Water Outage

BURGAW – Pender County Utilities water customers living in the vicinity of 210 Highway going toward Watts Landing and Surf City are experiencing a water outage. This was caused by a contractor doing a line bore under 210 Highway and drilled into the PCU water main.  Crews are onsite and lines isolated.  Repairs should be finished in several hours and water restored.


Therefore, consumers in the area noted above are advised to boil all water used for human consumption (including drinking, making ice, brushing teeth, washing dishes and food preparation) or use bottled water until this advisory is lifted. This advisory will be in effect for a minimum of 24 hours.


Vigorous boiling for one (1) minute should kill any disease-causing organisms that may be present in the water. Water customers are strongly urged to conserve water whenever possible.


This advisory remains in effect until further written notification is issued.


This advisory will go in effect on Tuesday, Dec. 14, starting at 2 p.m.  The advisory will be lifted when 24-hour testing comes back negative for Bac-T.

Severe drought conditions in North Carolina expand to more than half the state

Driest November in 90 years and conditions may remain through winter

RALEIGH – North Carolina’s Drought Management Advisory Council (DMAC) has expanded its Severe Drought category for portions of the Blue Ridge Mountains through the Sandhills, most of the southern coastal plains, and along the entire eastern coastal area.

Severe Drought (D2 classification) now covers more than half of the state after another dry week added to precipitation deficits over the past three to six months. Severe drought is the second category of the four drought classifications based on the U.S. Drought Monitor. Last May, portions of six counties were briefly classified as severe. Prior to that time, severe drought occurred during the month of October 2019.

Other areas, such as the Triangle, Triad and Piedmont have been elevated to a Moderate Drought category (D1 classification), from last week’s Abnormally Dry designation (D0). The area east of the mountains that had been in the normal category previously has been downgraded to Abnormally Dry status.

Virtually all the State, except a few localized areas near the western Virginia border, are experiencing dry conditions based on factors including streamflow, groundwater levels, reservoir levels, soil moisture, and fire danger.

“Much of the state has been in a dry pattern over the past three to six months, with generally above-normal temperatures and few to no tropical systems bringing widespread rainfall relief,” said Corey Davis, Assistant State Climatologist with the NC State Climate Office. “The dryness has been especially pronounced since early October. Less than one inch of rain fell in most areas last month. It’s the driest November in 90 years in North Carolina.”

DMAC publishes its drought map every Thursday morning. It is updated and submitted on the Tuesday prior for inclusion in U.S. Drought Monitor. Any rainfall that occurs after 8 a.m. Tuesdays is considered in analyzing the following week’s map. However, the rain in the current forecast is not expected to make much impact on the drought status since it may only provide 0.5 inches to 1.0 inches which is the normal amount expected for this time of year. The gradual deficit in October and more extreme shortfall in November has resulted in many areas being four to seven inches below normal over the last three months. 

The DMAC says current conditions and forecast models which reflect the warm, dry conditions that a La Nina weather pattern often brings, could lead to drought conditions continuing through the winter months.

To learn more, visit https://www.ncdrought.org/education.

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