Have your evacuation plan in place ahead of the storm

Staying ahead of the storm - evacuation plans

WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - Barrier islands often fall under mandatory evacuations, but for most southeastern North Carolinians, the decision to evacuate depends on each individual family’s vulnerabilities and aversion to risk. And that decision can be harrowing!

But just in case, you NEED to have a comprehensive evacuation plan for you and your family members which, of course, includes pets.

Start with this rule of thumb: west is best. Since most hurricanes approach the Cape Fear Region from the south, evacuating to a prescribed location in, say, Raleigh or Charlotte, will usually serve you well.

But the absolute best and most comprehensive evacuation plans include north or south options because, sometimes, hurricanes come right into the Carolinas with an easterly component, like a T-bone collision. Storms that did that include Florence, Isabel, Fran, and Hugo.

Also, consider sketching out a couple of different ways to that “point B”, just in case your primary route is flooded or damaged.

“What was open might be closed as a result of the storm moving in. We saw that with Hurricane Floyd with all that heavy rainfall well out in advance of the hurricane led to a lot of closures as a result. And getting back was even worse,” said Steve Pfaff, Warning Coordination Meteorologist, NWS Wilmington.

So now is the time to draw those plans and maybe make some phone calls. Family and friends are best! They are more likely to know and understand your lodging and health needs - and that's even more critical in this COVID-19 pandemic.

And last tip: pack a good old fashioned paper map. They’re a little cumbersome when they’re unfolded, but they’re guaranteed to work even if you lose your cell signal.

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