08/25/11 — Local and state officials keep close eye on hurricane's path

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Local and state officials keep close eye on hurricane's path

By From staff reports
Published in News on August 25, 2011 1:46 PM

Wayne County officials are watching and waiting and making preparations as Hurricane Irene draws closer to the North Carolina coastline.

"We are still monitoring the situation," said Blair Tyndall, county EMS and safety director, speaking on behalf of county emergency management and security director Mel Powers. "We are still getting regular updates from the National Weather Service about its track and its impact."

Tyndall said county emergency officials would be meeting with fire, rescue, police and sheriff personnel this afternoon to discuss response plans, and that they'd also be talking with Red Cross and Salvation Army officials about potential sheltering.

And, he said, while they're hopeful Irene will remain on its current track over the Outer Banks, Wayne County residents need to be prepared for some impact.

"It's a fairly large storm. It it's impacting the Outer Banks, we're certainly going to feel it here. People need to be making preparations and not waiting until the last minute," he said. "It could change quickly, but if it'd take a little jog to the east, that'd be nice."

Officials with Wayne County Public Schools have also been monitoring the storm ever since it was announced that it might hit North Carolina, said Ken Derksen, public information officer for the district.

"This is something that we do every year, make preparations for inclement weather," he said. "We remind staff what the procedures are. In this situation it looks like the weather will be hitting over the weekend and all the sporting events, Friday night football, were moved to Thursday night so that no parents or community members will be on the campus as the storm hits.

"We're just keeping a close eye on the weather."

Schools typically used as emergency shelters are also on standby, in case there is a need, Derksen added.

Most football games scheduled for Friday are being played tonight (see Sports, page 1B for more).

The Red Cross is urging people to put together emergency kits and to have an emergency plan ready, just in case. For information on how to put together a plan and a kit, visit www.redcross.org.