Triangle, Sandhills prepare for severe weather headed to North Carolina

Ahead of the potentially severe weather that the Triangle may face on Thursday, many preparations are being made; whether it's making sure homes are secured to prevent flooding or something as simple as fueling up cars.

Crews are on standby across the state ready to be deployed in case of an emergency.

DURHAM & WAKE PREPARATIONS


Customers at Triangle Pharmacy and Ace Hardware in Durham are not necessarily looking for storm supplies.

Brenda Howard says she has good reason., "I'm already stocked up. I was stocked last year this time."

That's because Howard knows what it's like to ride out a tornado from her bathtub. She told ABC11 that a storm ravaged her Durham neighborhood in the late 80s.

"It blew the roof off the house. Trees down. I watched a tree go right down the middle of a brand new house," said Howard.

The severe weather forcing some customers to cancel their COVID-19 vaccine appointments ahead of Thursday.

ABC11 spoke with Durham County Emergency Management Director Jim Groves. He's encouraging Durham residents to go to AlertDurham.com as a resource for safety information.

For precaution, officials say people should check to see if they have flashlights, batteries and water -- should they lose power. Next, consider stocking up on canned items and pet food. And if your area is hit by a tornado, Meteorologist Don Schwenneker says your kit should be stocked with helmets, goggles, eye protection, a whistle and a first aid kit so emergency crews can easily locate you if injured.

Durham and Wake County officials tell us crews and first responders are on standby and are ready to deploy in case of emergency. Vehicles are being refueled and equipment like chainsaws are being checked.

On Wednesday, ABC11 cameras captured tree trimmers removing debris on Poole Road in Southeast Raleigh.

Here is a checklist of things you should consider doing before the storm arrives:
  • Secure outdoor objects
  • Keep your phones charged
  • Have a full tank of gas
  • Determine where you will shelter safely
  • Have a plan to stay connected to loved ones during a blackout


WATCH: Big Weather breaks down most likely scenarios for Thursday's storm
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Big Weather takes you through the likelihood of different types of weather this afternoon.



SANDHILLS COMMUNITY FEARS FLOODING


As the severe weather season creeps around the corner, Fayetteville locals are mindful of the flooding it could bring for many communities.

Rene Orellana is a resident of the Locks Creek community. The neighborhood, which sits along Locks Creek, has been plagued with flooding, Orellana recalling what it looked like during Hurricane Matthew in 2016.

The Fayetteville father tells Eyewitness News that floodwaters were up to his chest adding, "the water was like this high, man, this high, maybe this high in here."
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A Fayetteville father tells Eyewitness News that floodwaters during Hurricane Matthew in 2016 were up to his chest adding, "the water was like this high, man, this high, maybe this high in here."



But, it doesn't take hurricane-like rain to cause the creek to spill over onto streets and laws. Orellana says a few days of heavy rain will lead to hazardous conditions. "The drainage, they're not good either. They always have water in there."

The constant fear of major flooding is also a result of the costly repairs that have been made over the years. Orellana says the last time water made it into his family's home was in 2018.

"To fix and replace everything was like $22,000 - the first time," Orellana said.

The Locks Creek community falls under Councilwoman Shakeyla Ingram's district 2. She's been a strong advocate for bringing some solutions to the table to help people like Orellana.

"Then you look at residents east of the river where they have that same experience just by a rainstorm," Ingram added.
Last year, Ingram proposed a moratorium in that very neighborhood to try to stop others from being stuck in that situation.

While it didn't pass, the councilwoman has carried the conversation forward. "Because they're going to continue being impacted, to be honest with you."

Ingram says one sign of progress is the city council moving forward with a Locks Creek debris cleanup project. It'll have crews focus on 30 different locations to clean up to tackle the flooding situation.

In February, city council voted to award the contract and will start the project at an undetermined time.

"We hope it makes some difference. Now, is it going to make a big difference? We probably won't know until it's done." But that won't stop Councilwoman Ingram from bringing other potential solutions to the table.
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