Pender County reports progress on floodplain management

BURGAW – Pender County Floodplain Administrator Daniel Adams reported progress on the county’s 34-point mitigation action strategies identified in the Hazard Mitigation Plan.

“Last year Pender County joined the Community Rating System (CRS), which is a FEMA program that provides discounts to flood insurance policyholders in the county for various creditable activities completed by staff,” said Adams. “Each year we have to recertify that we’re continuing to complete the creditable activities that earn points towards those policy discounts.”

One of those activities is a progress report on mitigation action strategies that were identified in the Hazard Mitigation Plan related to floodplain management and providing information to the public.

“We continue to work on all 34 points identified in the Hazard Mitigation Plan,” said Adams.

Among the items in the progress report was the county’s provision to provide information regarding floodplain mapping to help citizens better understand flood risk for their property or a property they may be interested in purchasing.

“We provide this service in person and online,” Adams said.

The Planning Department has two Certified Floodplain Managers on staff who can assist citizens with floodplain development or flood insurance-related questions.

Pender County applies for all available funding from the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) to assist with the mitigation of severe repetitive loss properties to relocate or remove structures from the floodplain. Pender County submitted 264 applications for property owner assistance under HMGP Matthew and HMGP Florence to mitigate each of these structures from future flood events.

Adams said the progress report is available on the county’s website, www.pendercountync.gov.

Activity 510 - Annual Progress Report Memo

Pender County Emergency Management prepares for Tropical Storm Elsa

PENDER COUNTY – Tropical Storm Elsa will impact the Pender County region tomorrow and into Thursday evening, according to the latest forecast from the National Weather Service.

“On its current track Tropical Storm Elsa has the potential to produce heavy rainfall, flooding, isolated tornadoes, and dangerous rip currents as early as Wednesday night through Thursday evening,” said Tommy Batson, Pender County Emergency Manager.

“We urge all residents to use caution and be prepared for possible power outages and localized flooding,” he said.

Tropical Storm Elsa has the potential to spawn tornadoes. Residents are urged to stay alert to local weather stations. Residents who have not signed up for the CodeRed alert system, register for free at https://public.coderedweb.com/CNE/en-US/9FB534DFBC93 or call 910-259-1210 for details.

“If a tornado warning occurs in your area, seek shelter in the interior of your home,” said Batson. “Be sure to secure all pets as well.”

Some streets in Pender County are prone to flooding. Avoid areas already flooded, especially if the water is flowing fast. Do not attempt to cross flowing streams. Roadbeds may be washed out under flood waters.

“Never drive through flooded roadways,” said Batson. “You don’t know the condition of the road under the water. Turn Around Don’t Drown is more than a cliché. It is an important warning to heed.”

Tropical Storm Elsa also has the potential of creating dangerous rip currents. Rip currents are channeled currents of water flowing away from shore at surf beaches. They typically extend from near the shoreline, through the surf zone and past the line of breaking waves.

“Rip currents speeds vary, but at 5 mph, a rip current moves faster than an Olympic swimmer,” said Batson.

“It is the hurricane season,” said Batson. “Residents should review your personal emergency plan and know your evacuation routes.

Check your emergency supply kit, which should contain food, water, prescription medicines, charging cords, batteries, and other essentials to support your family for several days. Be sure to plan for elderly relatives and pets. And make certain your insurance is up-to-date.”

For more information, read our Pender County Emergency Management website, https://www.pendercountync.gov/em/

or our Facebook page.

Applications period opens July 1 for $79.6 million hurricane disaster relief program for poultry and livestock, plasticulture and forestry producers

Program focuses on losses suffered from Hurricanes Florence, Michael and Dorian

RALEIGH – The N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services has received a $79.6 million USDA block grant to assist producers and woodland owners in 90 counties who suffered losses in 2018-2019 from Hurricanes Florence, Michael, and Dorian. The application period runs from July 1 to Oct. 1.

This program will offer direct payments to eligible poultry/livestock and plasticulture producers. Assistance will only involve losses associated with these hurricanes that were not covered under other USDA disaster programs.

This program will also offer technical and financial assistance to woodland owners in the emergency-declared counties that were affected by these hurricanes. Comprehensive forest management plans will be offered to those landowners in order to assess the storm impacts to their woodlands and identify beneficial management recommendations.

“Eligibility requirements differ significantly between the agricultural and forestry categories of this block grant,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. “I would encourage farmers and forest owners who think they may be eligible to check the online links for the agricultural applications or contact their local N.C. Forest Service County Ranger Office for the ‘Woodland Recovery’ component.”

Poultry/livestock and plasticulture producers will need a current and completed IRS W9 form ready to scan into the application. Additionally, growers are encouraged to research and gather any evidence of poultry/swine structure damage and any damage evidence for plasticulture and greenhouses from those specific storms. They should be prepared to scan documents into the application for consideration of payment.

Details about the “Woodland Recovery” program will be available beginning mid-July by contacting a local N.C. Forest Service County Ranger’s office. A list of contacts can be found at https://www.ncforestservice.gov/contacts/contacts_main.htm

For more information, including links to the poultry/livestock and plasticulture applications, visit www.ncagr.gov/agriculturaldisasterprogram or call 1-919-707-3362.

Burning ban lifted June 2, 5 p.m.

The Pender County Fire Marshal announced the lifting of the County burning ban effective today, June 2,
2021.

Effective at 5 p.m. Wednesday, June 2, 2021 the Pender County Fire Marshal Office has lifted a ban on all open
burning for Pender. The burn ban went into effect May 24 due to hazardous forest fire conditions in the
county. Recent rainfall the county has decreased the fire danger threat in the county. We are forecasted to
receive more rain over the next few days. Residents should burn responsibly if they choose to burn.
Before burning, make sure you have should obtain a permit from the NCFS if you are more than 100 ft from a
resident. Check the weather before burning and never leave a fire unattended.

Fire officials recommend that anyone burning have resources immediately available to control their fire. Those
resources include water hoses, buckets of water, and hand tools. Should a fire become out of control,
individuals need to immediately contact the local fire department for assistance by calling 911.

The lifting of the burning ban will allow for individuals to utilize open burning for the disposal of vegetative debris
that has been generated on their property. This includes items such as leaves, straw, lawn clippings,
shrubbery clippings, and sticks and branches. Garbage, lumber, building materials, and rubber are never
allowed to be burned. These items must be disposed of at solid waste convenience sites located throughout
the county.

Persons needing more information about open burning regulations in Pender County can contact the Pender
County Fire Marshal at 910-259-1210 or the Pender County Headquarters for the NC Division of Forest
Resources at 910-259-7251.

Lingering smoke near Hampstead

Smoke expected along Highway17 near Hampstead Sunday night, possibly lingering for several days

HAMPSTEAD – There is potential for hazardous road conditions Sunday night and possibly for the next several days due to smoke from the Lea Crest Fire near Hampstead. Smoke is expected to settle at ground level after dark and will likely remain until after the sun and temperatures rise tomorrow morning. The area of concern is along Highway 17 between Highway 210 and Country Club Drive. Communities in the area should expect to see and smell smoke in the air.

All citizens are urged to avoid this area if possible or allow extra time and use caution if travel is necessary.

Pender County issues Burning Ban

BURGAW- Pender County Fire Marshal’s Office has issued a Burning Ban effected on Monday, May 24, at noon. This is a result of extreme dry conditions across the area.

“Pender County has seen a rise in the number of outside fires that are requiring extensive manpower and equipment for containment,” said Tommy Batson, Pender County Emergency Manager. “The area has received little, to no rainfall in the past few weeks. Additionally, the forecasted highs this week in are expected in the 90’s with no rain in sight.”

During the past two weeks as warmer, drier weather patterns have continued across southeastern North Carolina the fire danger has grown higher, and in some cases extreme, especially in the coastal counties.  The chance for stronger winds and very low humidity does not help for fire control operations.

The citizens of Pender County are urged to do everything possible to minimize the risk of fire during this period.

This restriction shall extend outward from all residential structures 100 feet.  This proclamation does not prohibit outdoor charcoal or gas grills provided precautions are taken to prevent fire from escaping those appliances.

According to the North Carolina Forestry Service, under North Carolina law, the ban prohibits all open burning in affected counties, regardless of whether a permit was previously issued. The issuance of new permits is suspended until the ban is lifted. Anyone violating the burn ban faces a $100 fine plus $180 court costs.

 

Water and fire safety urged for Pender County residents

BURGAW – Technically it is still spring, but this week, summer weather will arrive in Southeastern North Carolina.
 
“We are currently in a slight drought period,” said Tommy Batson, Pender County Emergency Manager. “At this time, we urge two things – conserve water and be cautious when practicing outside burning.”
 
Sitting around a fire pit is fun, but residents are urged to make sure fires are completely extinguished.
 
“Never leave a fire unattended,” said Batson. “In drought conditions, sparks can easily lead to wildfires. Douse the embers with water before walking away from an outdoor wood fire.”
 
Water conservation is the next concern during a drought.
 
“We urge the public to conserve water wisely,” said Kenny Keel, Pender County Utilities Director. “By utilizing small practices, such as turning off the water while brushing your teeth or shaving and repairing leaking faucets, you can reduce water usage.”
 
According to The Water Project, lawns and gardens require only .02 inches of water per day during warm weather.
 
“Water lawns every three to five days rather than for short periods every day,” he suggested. “Never overwater. This damages plants and our soils do not store extra water.”
 
Keel said for additional conservation tips, visit the county’s website at https://www.pendercountync.gov/utl/water-conservation-tips/.
“We urge our residents to enjoy the natural resources in Pender County,” said Batson. “Practice fire prevention and water conservation throughout the year, but especially in periods of drought.”

Pender County monitors area fuel emergency, issues a state of emergency

BURGAW- Pender County officials are closely monitoring the fuel emergency, the result of a cyber-attack on Colonial Pipeline late last week.

“Pender County will ensure the continuity of local government operations,” said George Brown, Chairman of the Pender County Board of County Commissioners. “The fuel disruption may extend through this week, according to our communications with state officials. We have issued a state of emergency and we are proactively addressing county staffing to ensure the safety of Pender County residents.”

“Analysts say it will take days for normal conditions to return,” said Brown. “Experts advise motorists not to panic purchase or hoard fuel as that will prolong shortages and spikes, making the situation worse. Motorists are asked to purchase only what fuel is immediately needed and to avoid fill the tank until the pipeline resumes operations.”

“As of 5 pm today, county leadership has implemented a plan to ensure that all emergency and essential employees are able to commute to and from work to serve the County residents, “said Chad McEwen, Pender County Manager.  “We are confident this plan will provide for continuity of all emergency departments, including DSS, Health, Utilities, Emergency Management, and the Sheriff’s Office.”

On May 11, Governor Roy Cooper issued a State of Emergency Executive Order 213. Included in this order is a statute regarding gas price gouging. Residents who witness price gouging should contact the North Carolina Department of Justice.

 

Gov. Cooper proclaims Hurricane Preparedness Week

Urges North Carolinians to update emergency plans and kits and to Know Your Zone

RALEIGH – Governor Roy Cooper has declared May 9-15 as Hurricane Preparedness Week, joining the national effort to make people more aware of the dangers of hurricanes and encouraging all North Carolinians to prepare for tropical weather. Hurricane season runs from June 1 through November 30.

“All North Carolinians should take this time to prepare for the possible impacts of a hurricane or other severe weather by updating their family emergency plans and supply kits,” Governor Cooper said. “Having a plan and supplies will help you to survive through a hurricane and to recover faster should one adversely affect your home.”

Severe tropical weather is common in North Carolina. The state is currently recovering from the devastating effects of multiple large storms including Hurricane Isaias and the remnants of Hurricane Eta in 2020; Hurricane Dorian in 2019; Hurricane Florence as well as Tropical Storms Michael and Alberto in 2018; and Hurricane Matthew in 2016.

“There are things everyone can do to prepare for severe weather long before it hits, such as having flood insurance and knowing if you live in a coastal evacuation zone,” said Mike Sprayberry, Executive Director of NC Emergency Management and the NC Office of Recovery and Resiliency.

Twenty North Carolina coastal counties have established pre-determined evacuation zones, based on the threats of storm surge and river flooding. Residents can find out if they live in one of these zones by visiting KnowYourZone.nc.gov. Residents should learn their zone and watch or listen for it if evacuations are ordered before or after a storm.

“I also encourage everyone to lookout for one another, especially for those who may be more vulnerable such as the elderly,” said Sprayberry. “It is easier get through a disaster by helping your friends and neighbors and working together.”

By practicing an emergency plan periodically, everyone will be comfortable with his or her role in the plan. The plan should also include details on a meeting place and family phone numbers. Be sure to write down your plan and gather important documents, such as copy of driver’s license, insurance policies, medical records, and prescriptions, and put them somewhere you can quickly access in case of emergency.

Make sure to review and update homeowners or renters’ insurance policies to ensure they are current and include adequate coverage for your current situation.

Having an emergency kit allows people to survive independently if no other resources are available. Assemble an emergency supplies kit that includes enough non-perishable food and water to last each family member three to seven days. Other essential items include:
• First-aid kit
• Weather radio and batteries
• Prescription medicines
• Sleeping bag or blankets
• Changes of clothes
• Hygiene items such as toothbrush, toothpaste, soap and deodorant
• Cash
• Pet supplies including food, water, bedding, leashes, muzzle and vaccination records
• Face masks and hand-sanitizer

Residents should pay attention to weather and evacuation information on the local media stations and have a battery-powered radio in case there is a power outage. If asked to evacuate, residents should promptly follow evacuation instructions.

To help mitigate damage to your home from severe weather, people can take common-sense measures such as trimming trees, covering windows, securing loose outdoor items before severe weather strikes.
More information on hurricanes and overall emergency preparedness is online at ReadyNC.org. Read the Governor’s proclamation here.

COVID vaccinations available

Pender County Health Department is offering the Moderna vaccine on Tuesdays in Burgaw and Thursdays at the Hampstead annex. Appointments are available online at pendercountync.gov or you can walk in starting at 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

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