Charlotte Preps for Hurricane Hanna
While the rest of the country was focused on Hurricane Gustav this week, North Carolina officials say they've had eyes only for Hanna. The National Hurricane Center expects Hanna to hit the Carolina Coast midday Friday and work its way inland - possibly passing through Charlotte. For that reason, Deputy Mecklenburg Fire Chief Jeff Dulin says the Carolinas didn't send any resources to help with Gustav on the Gulf Coast. "We didn't want to have some our assets down there and have to pull them back," says Dulin. "So working in partnership through FEMA, we agreed that North Carolina and South Carolina would not deploy assets because of that." Dulin and about a dozen city and county emergency officials spoke by conference call yesterday with their counterparts throughout the state. A large map projected on the conference room wall marked Hanna's predicted path as big red arrow aiming straight for South Carolina - similar to Hurricane Hugo in 1989. Forecasters say it's too early to tell what the hurricane will do when it moves beyond the coast, but Dulin says Charlotte officials are preparing for the worst. "Flooding events, swift water rescues, looking at impassable roads, things like that," says Dulin. "Also on the wind side of it, looking at possible trees down across houses or power lines or roads." Dulin says flooding is a particular concern, since the ground is already saturated and streams are full from Tropical Storm Fay last week. He says local officials are also making a plan to send rescue and response teams elsewhere in the region if Hanna leaves Charlotte unscathed. Meanwhile, County Emergency Management Director Wayne Broom offers this advice: "The citizens of this community should be doing exactly what we're doing. Planning. Do I have my family preparedness kit? Do I have extra cash? Do I have extra medication? That family preparedness would be the best advice we could give them. Emergency officials say that family preparedness kit should include enough water, food, spare clothing and flashlight batteries to last three to five days.