RALEIGH: McCrory declares state of emergency for 4 NC counties - Alabamas13.com WVTM-TV Birmingham, AL

McCrory declares state of emergency for 4 eastern counties

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RALEIGH, N.C. -

Gov. Pat McCrory declared a state of emergency for four counties in eastern North Carolina in the wake of Friday’s severe storms.

The four counties hit hardest Friday were Beaufort, Chowan, Pasquotank and Perquimans counties.

"What I witnessed firsthand in Beaufort, Chowan and Perquimans counties is a stark reminder of how damaging tornadoes can be," McCrory said in a written release. "My heart goes out to the hundreds of people dealing with property damage, injuries, and even the loss of life."

The state of emergency is the first step in seeking federal assistance in the aftermath of Friday’s severe weather. It also triggers the price gouging law in those areas.

"In times like these, we must stick together and help each other out, and we will do all that we can to help communities hit by these storms," McCrory said.

The governor also urged all North Carolina residents to be prepared for the severe weather that caused deadly tornadoes in the midwest as it heads toward the state.

"We have all seen how quickly storms can strike and it is extremely important for everyone to stay tuned to local weather reports to get the most up to date information," said Secretary Frank L. Perry, with the Department of Public Safety. "Our goal is to stress the importance of being prepared."

Crews with the Red Cross have sent five of their emergency response vehicles to help storm victims. Two units are in Washington and three are in Elizabeth City.

"This is the preparedness phase where we try to get information out through various means to get people to pay attention, to be weather alert, to monitor the TV and radios that give information about warnings and watches," said Barry Porter, the regional director for Red Cross Triangle.

Porter said his crew is on standby to possibly head to the midwest.

Emergency officials recommend the following safety tips:

  • Stay tuned to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) radios and make sure to have back-up batteries for the radio.
  • Register with a local television or radio station to receive weather alerts on your cell phone or landline specific to your area.
  • Keep cell phones charged in the event of power outages.
  • Know where the nearest safe room is, such as a basement or interior room and away from windows, and go there immediately if you hear or see a tornado.
  • If driving, you should leave your vehicle immediately to seek safety in an adequate structure. Do not try to outrun a tornado in your vehicle, and do not stop under an overpass or a bridge.
  • If you are outdoors and there is no shelter available, take cover in a low-lying flat area. Watch out for flying debris.
  • Following a storm, wear sturdy shoes, long sleeves and gloves when walking on or near debris, and be aware of exposed nails and broken glass.
  • Be aware of damaged power or gas lines and electrical systems that may cause fires, electrocution or explosions.
  • Know the terms: WATCH means a tornado is possible. WARNING means a tornado has been spotted; take shelter immediately.

Last year in North Carolina, the National Weather Service recorded 10 tornadoes that injured three people and caused more than $6 million in damages. The state also had 460 thunderstorms.

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