Evacuations begin on NC coast as Governor Cooper activates National Guard

WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH, N.C. (WTVD) -- It might be hard to pronounce the storm's name but it's a lot easier to articulate how it makes you feel.

"Disappointing, frustrating and sad," Katherine Tole lamented to ABC11. "I'm ready for 2020 to move out!"

Tole was with her son and friends at Holden Beach on Saturday when the hotel messaged her about local authorities ordering evacuations; visitors on Saturday were also told to leave Ocracoke and Hatteras islands, along with Holden Beach and Ocean Isle.

"We all need to be prepared for the dangers that Isaias could bring," Governor Roy Cooper said Saturday. "As we learned with Hurricane Florence, even a category one storm can bring severe impacts, and we should not take this lightly."

A day after declaring a State of Emergency for Hurricane Isaias, the governor activated 150 troops from the North Carolina National Guard.

"The National Guard, Emergency Management and State Highway Patrol are ready to respond where needed," said state Public Safety Secretary Erik A. Hooks. "We are also coordinating with our partners at the Department of Transportation who are positioning for storm response."

The N.C. Department of Public Safety launched here.

North Carolina has also rolled out a new system of coastal evacuation zones in 20 coastal counties with the Know Your Zone program. For more information and to learn if you are in a zone, click here.

The consensus among all high ranking officials is that preparing and offering evacuation shelters will be the most difficult for this storm season, as the traditional playbook calls for packing evacuees into gymnasiums and community centers. Amid the pandemic, emergency managers are largely increasing the roster of available spaces and recruiting more staff to implement social distancing measures. There's also going to be an expanded cleaning and sanitizing regiment.

The Red Cross is also trying to recruit younger, able bodied volunteers to take the place of seniors who have traditionally held that role but are now high risk for COVID19.
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