FAQ: Things you need to know for Hurricane Dorian

WATCH: Going inside the eye of Hurricane Dorian, a Category 5 storm

SOUTHEASTERN NORTH CAROLINA (WECT) - Hurricane Dorian remains on-track to bring impacts to the Cape Fear Region as the large storm accelerates north-northeast along the Carolina Coast late this week.

Here are some things you may need to know as Dorian continues churning in the Atlantic:

Closings and early dismissals


Pender County

Malpass Corner Elementary, Topsail Elementary School, and Cape Fear Middle School will serve as shelters in Pender County. All three will open at 2 p.m. Wednesday.

New Hanover County

Codington Elementary (at capacity) and the Blair Elementary School (at capacity) located on Blair School Dr. (known this school year as Wrightsville Beach at Blair Elementary) will serve as shelters in New Hanover County. Both opened at 10 a.m. Wednesday.

A third shelter, Eaton Elementary, opened at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday.

Codington Elementary and Blair Elementary are both at capacity, as of 12:25 p.m. Thursday, according to officials. Eaton Elementary has enough room for 115 residents, officials say.

Brunswick County

Beginning at 8 a.m. Wednesday, North Brunswick, South Brunswick and West Brunswick high schools opened as shelters. All three shelters are pet friendly.

Bladen County

Bladen Lakes Primary School, East Arcadia School, East Bladen High School (pet friendly), and West Bladen High School will serve as shelters and will open at 7 p.m. on Wednesday.

Columbus County

The following shelters opened as of 8 a.m. Wednesday:

  • Edgewood Elementary School - located at 317 East Calhoun Street in Whiteville. This shelter will be the only shelter that allows pets.
  • East Columbus High School - located at 32 Gator Lane in Lake Waccamaw.
  • South Columbus High School - located at 40 Stallion Drive in Tabor City.
  • West Columbus High School - located at 7294 Andrew Jackson Highway SW in Cerro Gordo.
  • Guideway Elementary School - located at 11570 Swamp Fox E. in Tabor City.

If anyone with special needs will require transportation to get to a shelter, please call 910-642-7201 to make these arrangements. Transportation will not be available once tropical storm winds (35 mph.) arrive.

More details about shelters can be found here.


For the latest on local evacuations, click here.


A number of curfews are now in effect for the Cape Fear region, including Brunswick and New Hanover counties.

Click here for details on the curfews in the area.

State of Emergency Issued

North Carolina

Governor Roy Cooper on Friday declared a state of emergency for North Carolina ahead of the possible impacts from Hurricane Dorian.

The state of emergency declaration waives certain transportation restrictions to help farmers and support relief efforts in advance of the storm, which is expected to strike the southeast in the next few days.

“Hurricane Dorian tracking toward the coast of Florida is a timely reminder to get your emergency plans and supplies ready,” Governor Cooper said. “North Carolinians should make sure they are ready for this storm and for all types of emergencies and disasters.”

State emergency officials suggest taking time to:

  • Review your family’s emergency plan and know your evacuation routes.
  • Check your emergency supply kit, which should contain food, water, medicines, charging cords, batteries, and other essentials.
  • Make sure your insurance is up to date.

With a state of emergency in place, North Carolina’s price gouging laws are now in effect.

“It is illegal to charge excessive prices during a state of emergency. If you see a business taking advantage of this storm, let my office know so we can hold them accountable and protect you from price gougers,” Attorney General Josh Stein said in a news release.

Report potential price gouging by calling 1-877-5-NO-SCAM or by filing a complaint here.

Local states of emergency

Several municipalities in our area have declared states of emergencies. More can be found here.


Beach communities along the Cape Fear coast are making preparations ahead of Hurricane Dorian’s expected arrival.

Click here for information regarding re-entry and closures in our beach areas.


The City of Wilmington is making two of its’ downtown parking decks available for residents in need of a place to park their vehicles in preparation for the expected impact of Hurricane Dorian.

The Market Street and 2nd Street parking decks will open at 5 p.m. on Tuesday for residents to park vehicles only. More details can be found here.

Power Outage Potential

As with any severe weather, there will be potential for power outages across the region.

Duke Energy customers can report an outage by calling (800) 769-3766 or text “OUT” to 57801. You can also sign up for text message alerts about outages and restoration timelines at your home or business.

Representatives from Duke Energy urge everyone to avoid down lines at all costs, and report those to the outage phone number as well.

Four County EMC members can report an outage by calling 1-888-368-7289 or texting “outage” to 352667.

Outage Maps:


If using a generator, never bring it indoors, even in the garage, and never refuel the machine while it is running. Duke provides a comprehensive guide to generator safety here.

Reporting downed trees/flooding within Wilmington City limits

  • To report trees or tree limbs blocking roadways within city limits call: (910) 341-7852 (leave a message if no one answers)
  • To report flooding or other stormwater issues within city limits call: (910) 341-4646 (leave a message if no one answers)

Public information hotlines

  • New Hanover (opening at 9 a.m. Tuesday) - 910-798-6800


Will major bridges shut down?

  • Typically the Cape Fear Memorial Bridge and the Isabel Holmes Bridge will remain open. Other bridges such as Snow’s Cut Bridge will close once winds reach 45 miles per hour. Officials say they will update as the storm approaches.

How can I keep my pets safe?

  • People are strongly urged to take their pets along if they evacuate, or to go to a pet-friendly shelter.
  • Whether you are evacuating with your pet or preparing to stay, make sure to bring along food and water for several days.
  • Officials said county shelters follow regular guidelines and do not euthanize animals unless they are sick, gravely injured or the shelter runs out of space.

What do all of these hurricane terms mean?

How should I use sandbags?

Fill the bags half full with sand or soil. When stacking the bags, make a barrier around or beside where you’re trying to keep water away. REMEMBER - sandbags are for small water flows up to two feet. You’ll need to have a plan in place to protect your belongings for major flooding. You can pick up supplies at a home improvement store.

How to stay informed

On Air

The First Alert Meteorologists are keeping a close eye on Dorian and will show you the latest models and forecasted tracks during each newscast on WECT. They will also give updates anytime of the day, as they are needed.


You can keep an eye on Hurricane Dorian by clicking on WECT.com. There, you will find the latest predictions, tracks and radar. Be sure to check out the Hurricane Center and the Interactive Radar.

On Mobile

Now is the time to download the new WECT Weather App if you haven't done so already. The app has many features that will help you track the storm and keep you weather aware with push alerts from the National Weather Service and the First Alert Weather Team. Click here to learn more about the app, including how to turn on the tropical storm track over the radar.

If you do not have the app yet, you can download it for Android, iPhone and iPad by clicking the links.

You can also download the WECT News App to see updated information from our reporters in the field and across the region. If you do not have the app yet, you can download it for Android, iPhone and iPad.

Social Media

Join in the conversation on the WECT Community Voice Facebook page. The First Alert Meteorologists will periodically answer your questions during Facebook Live events. We'll do what we can to keep you informed and answer your questions.

Be sure to follow #DorianILM on Twitter and to use the hashtag with your personal weather updates. You’ll also want to be sure to follow @wectnews and @wectweather.

See it, Snap it, Send it

Be our eyes. Send us pictures or videos of the storm in your area or of the damage it leaves behind. Click here to upload your content.

Storm prep tips from anchors

With so many new people moving into the Cape Fear region in recent years, there’s a good chance some of you don’t quite know what to expect. So we asked some of our veteran journalists for their advice on how to prepare for a hurricane. This is what they had to say: Tips From Anchors

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