05 – Town Meeting

Lou’s Views

“Unofficial” Minutes & Comments


BOC’s Special Meeting 05/21/19

Board of Commissioners’ Agenda Packet » NA

Audio Recording » click here


1. Poyner Spruill Update

Agenda Packet – background information not provided

Previously reported – October 2018
It has been the Mayor’s position that we need to hire a professional consulting firm because we need representation on multiple topics at the local, state and national levels of government. McIntyre did a brief recap of presentation that was made at the Special Meeting earlier in the day on what they can do for us. The consensus appeared to be that we need someone to speak on our behalf and they can make it happen.

Previously reported – December 2018
Poyner Spruill Proposal Concerning Consulting Services
Scope of Engagement
We have agreed to advise and assist you with governmental matters and legal issues that arise and the Client hereby engages Poyner Spruill LLP to perform the following services in accordance with the terms and conditions set forth in this Agreement: working with the Client to secure federal assistance and project management regarding: (1) federal issues related to beach nourishment at Holden Beach, North Carolina, and (2) federal issues related to Lockwood Folly Inlet maintenance.

Board selected Poyner Proposal Option C – The level of proposed services (2) requires funding of $6,975 per month or a minimum of $83,700 annually.

Update –
They have been working with us since the beginning of the year and they send monthly updates to the Board. McIntyre did a brief overview, covering the two services they were hired for Lockwood Folly Inlet and beach nourishment. Lockwood Folly dredging they have already secured some sand to be placed on Holden Beach and are working to convince USACE with data that it makes more sense to put the sand from dredging on the east end of Holden Beach then on the west end of Oak Island. Beach nourishment is being addressed with request for a new General Reevaluation Report. Mike was fairly optimistic that we will be able to finally move forward on our own with implementation. Next step is for us to send a letter of intent to USACE.

Frankly I had serious reservations about spending that kind of money without knowing what exactly we are getting and how much it will ultimately cost us. They significantly increased my comfort zone with spending the money based on their efforts thus far. Time will tell what kind of return on investment we get based on their efforts.


BOC’s Regular Meeting 05/21/19

Board of Commissioners’ Agenda Packet » click here

Audio Recording » click here


1. Public Comments on Agenda Items

There were no comments


2. Recognition of PAR Course Eagle Scout Project, Todd Robbins – Christy Ferguson

Agenda Packet –
At the May 13, 2019 meeting of Troop 262, Todd Robbins was awarded his Eagle Scout award.  After meeting with staff to discuss options for Town projects, Todd chose to make improvements to the PAR Course along Ocean Boulevard.   The process involved several months of planning, establishment of a project budget, and the implementation of project management and leadership skills.

The Town would like to recognize Todd Robbins for his hard work and improvements in our community.

Eagle Scout is the highest achievement or rank attainable in the Scouts BSA program of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA). Since its inception in 1911, only four percent of Scouts have earned this rank after a lengthy review process.

Requirements include earning at least 21 merit badges. The Eagle Scout must demonstrate Scout Spirit, an ideal attitude based upon the Scout Oath and Law, service, and leadership. This includes an extensive service project that the Scout plans, organizes, leads, and manages. Eagle Scouts are presented with a medal and a badge that visibly recognizes the accomplishments of the Scout.

Christy presented the award to Todd followed by a photo-op.

I would like to give a special shout-out to Todd, congratulations on earning the highest honor in scouting the rank of Eagle Scout. I salute your achievement and wish you every success in the future.


3. Recognition of International City/ County Management Association (ICMA) Award of Credentialed Manager Status to Town Manager Hewett – Tommy Combs, ICMA Senior Advisor

Agenda Packet – background information not provided

International City/County Management Association vision is to be the leading organization of local government professionals dedicated to creating and supporting thriving communities throughout the world. We do this by working with our more than 11,000 members to identify and speed the adoption of leading local government practices in order to improve the lives of residents.  ICMA offers membership, professional development programs, research, publications, data and information, technical assistance, and training to thousands of city, town, and county chief administrative officers, their staffs, and other organizations throughout the world.
For more information » click here

ICMA Credentialed Managers are professional local government managers qualified by a combination of education and experience, adherence to high standards of integrity, and an assessed commitment to lifelong learning and professional development. 

Town Manager Hewett met all the requirements with distinction and achieved Credentialed Manager designation.


4. Lockwood Folly Inlet Sedimentation Analysis Presentation – Fran Way, Applied Technology & Management
Agenda Packet –
background information not provided

There have been 41 projects in the last 48 years (since 1971) where the sand was put on Holden Beach. THB initiated this study because USACE put sand from the dredging project on the west end of Oak Island this year. Frankly it made no sense since Oak Island’s west end is accretional where the east end of Holden Beach is erosional.

The sand nourishment project (140,000cy) is a critical element to keep the east end of Holden Beach healthy and stable. USACE even states that Holden Beach is the “base” or “standard” disposable plan because it is the least costly alternative. Modeling was done and we now have imperial data to make the case to justify putting the sand on the east end of Holden Beach in the future.


5. Fire Department Update – Fire Chief Doug Todd
.       a)
Letter of Support for West End Access
.       b)
Letter of Support for Second Water Tower

Agenda Packet –

TRI-BEACH VOLUNTEER FIRE DEPARTMENT
I am writing to let you know that the Fire Department would support the town in trying to get an area at the west end of the island for emergency vehicles to be able to access the beach strand. The closest access that we have currently is at the 800 block of the island. It takes a lot longer to drive on the strand from that location than it would if we could drive down the highway and get on the strand closer to the west end of the island. The higher number of calls for water rescue that we have are at the two ends of the island. We have a great access at the east end of the island, and it would be a great help to have one closer to the west end. Any help that the town could give us with this matter would be greatly appreciated.

TRI-BEACH VOLUNTEER FIRE DEPARTMENT
I am writing to let you know that the Fire Department is in support of a second water tank on the island. We have had several times in the last few years when there have been problems with the county water system that could have infected the amount of water that was available to the island. I have been told several times that the demand on the water system in the summertime is just about to the maximum. I think that the Town would be making a great proactive move for the future of the island to move forward with building a second water tank on the island. This could help with drinking water as well as water for the protection of the island in case of a fire.

MISSION STATEMENT
The mission of the Tri-Beach Volunteer Fire Department is to protect the life and property of our citizens and visitors from fire and other emergencies through incident response, public education, and first response. As a customer driven organization, it is our mission and number one priority to deliver the best possible service to our customers.
For more information » click here

Assistant Fire Chief David Ward made the presentation. David briefly reviewed the Tri-Beach Fire Department call statistics. He also informed us the island station #2 will have full-time staffing beginning May 24th from 7:00am to 7:00pm, during which time roughly 61% of the island calls happen.


6. Police Report – Chief Jeremy Dixon

Police Patch
It’s the beginning of the busy season on Holden Beach
Memorial Day is the official kickoff for the 100 fun days of summer

 

Crime Prevention 101 – Don’t make it easy for them
Don’t leave vehicles unlocked
Don’t leave valuables in your vehicles


A reminder of the Town’s beach strand ordinances:
…..1)
Chapter 90 / Animals / §90.20 / Responsibilities of owners
…….a)
pets are not allowed on the beach strand except between 5p.m. and 9a.m. daily
…….b)
dog’s must be on a leash at all times
…….c)
owner’s need to clean up after their animals
…..2)
Chapter 94 / Beach regulations / §94.05 / Digging of holes on beach strand
…….a)
digging holes greater than 12 inches deep without responsible person there
…….b)
holes shall be filled in prior to leaving
…..3)
Chapter 94 / Beach regulations / §94.06 / Placing obstructions on the beach strand
…….a)
all unattended beach equipment must be removed daily by 6:00pm


Pets on the beach strand
Pets – Chapter 90 / Animals / §90.20
From May 20th through September 10th
It is unlawful to have any pet on the beach strand
* During the hours of 9:00am through 5:00pm

Unattended Gear
Ordinance §94.06 was passed on September 14, 2010. All unattended beach equipment must be removed from the beach by its owner or permitted user daily. All unattended personal equipment remaining on the beach between the hours of 6PM and 7AM will be classified as abandoned property and will be disposed of by the Town.

Golf Carts
Golf carts are treated the same as other automotive vehicles. Town ordinances state no parking anytime on OBW. Therefore golf carts are illegally parked when left by any beach access points.

Parking
§72.02 PARKING REGULATED ON PUBLIC STREETS AND RIGHTS-OF-WAY.
(1)   All vehicles must be as far off the public street rights-of-way as possible; and
(2)   No vehicle may be left parked on any portion of any roadway; and
(3)   No vehicle may be parked on portion of the sidewalk. 


Modern technology meets old school: How law enforcement investigated the suspected Holden Beach murderer

The tiny beach town of Holden was rocked when 71-year-old Judy Brock was murdered, allegedly by her husband. Find out how authorities made their case using data stored by cell phone and internet companies.

Modern communications technology paired with old-fashioned interview tactics are helping at least nine agencies build a strong case against Phillip Brock, a 71-year-old indicted last week for the first-degree murder of his wife. From the day Brock first reported his wife missing until the first week of April, 15 search warrants have been issued. Some search warrants are what one might expect in a murder investigation: a property search, DNA and cheek swab collection, or bank transaction tracking. But others, like those with a 48-hour return directive — effectively a legal rush-order — to out-of-state companies including Yahoo!, Google, Inc. and Verizon Wireless, show how law enforcement agencies are taking advantage of ubiquitous data collection practices that are more often used to sell targeted advertising. Traditional investigative techniques, like noticing inconsistencies in an interview, opened up suspicion against Phillip Brock. Brock called 911 to report his wife missing at 3:16 p.m. on March 15. Fine-tuned location data — sourced from a cell phone — could further reveal Brock’s precise movement that day — information that could remove any doubt about his involvement in Judy Brock’s murder. And communication records, which were examined alongside cellphone use, could help the prosecution clear up any suspicion about Rhen Wise, Brock’s alleged mistress, and the extent — if any — of her involvement in the murder; initial communication records show Wise continued to communicate with Brock after his wife’s murder for five days, until his arrest on March 20. Warrants cite the pervasive nature of cell phone use as part of their usefulness in tracking behavior. Cell phones “generally geographically mirror their user’s pattern of movement over time,” multiple warrants in the Brock case state.

Suspicion
The investigation began as a missing person case. After Brock reported his wife missing, officers conducted an initial search of his waterfront Holden Beach home. No signs of forced entry were present. Initial forensics conducted on Judy Brock’s cell phone — which was left at the residence — showed her husband texted her at 8:02 and 8:03 a.m., with no response. He told investigators he left home that morning at 5:45 a.m. and that his wife was still sleeping. Forensics conducted on Brock’s phone showed data before and during March 15 had been deleted. According to the search warrant to Google Inc., issued on March 18, deleting communication records to conceal them from law enforcement can show “consciousness of guilt,” information that can help prosecutors frame motive and intent to commit a crime. Information Google Inc. provides — which according to the warrant is likely to be stored both inside and outside the U.S. — “may tend to identify potential witnesses and/or suspects” in a “chronological and geographic context.” These initial forensics also showed Google searches from two weeks prior for escort services near South Carolina. This information served as probable cause to serve the first two search warrants on March 18: the first to Verizon Wireless and the second to Google Inc. At this point in the case, Judy Brock’s disappearance was being investigated as an “endangered missing person suspected by foul play.” Investigators believed Judy Brock could still be alive. After issuing the first search warrant to Verizon Wireless on the afternoon of March 18, Major Laurie Watson with the Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office re-faxed it twice the next morning, at 7:03 a.m. and at 8:51 a.m. with the urgent message: “I am requesting [range to tower records] as soon as possible in hopes of finding her alive.” According to the law firm Yavitch & Palmer, Verizon Wireless stores range-to-tower records, or RTT data. RTT data helps narrow down the distance from a device to a cell tower (or multiple cell towers) at the time of receiving or placing a call or text message. This type of data can track a device’s precise measurement to about one-tenth of a mile. But it’s only maintained by carriers for less than two weeks. Major Watson also requested the location of each of Verizon’s cell sites (equipment including antennas that transmit signals) and towers (the structures sites are attached to), including the horizontal beam widths and orientations of the cell sites.

Locking down location
It wasn’t until officers searched the Brocks’ Holden Beach property on Greensboro Street that they discovered data tying Phillip Brock to the crime. The property was searched on March 20, the warrant shows, which included a search of vehicles at the scene. Forensics from showed Brock’s 2018 Ford 150 revealed recent GPS locations in Sampson County — a location Brock told investigators he had not been to in months. The locations tied Brock to Wright Bridge Road – a 3.5-mile road that cuts around several acres of woods off U.S. 701 in Sampson County. Later that day, multiple law enforcement agencies found Judy Brock’s body in the same location, after discovering tire tracks and freshly-disturbed ground off Wright Bridge Road. Phillip Brock was arrested at 5:30 p.m. following the discovery.

Ongoing investigation, expanded focus
New search warrants show the focus has expanded to Brock’s suspected mistress, who continued to communicate with him for at least five days after Judy Brock’s suspected time of death. Bank records revealed a financial relationship between Brock and Wise, in which Brock paid Wise’s phone bill, provided her with credit cards, and gave her funds and covered other expenses. The two also met in several hotels since 2018, according to an April 4 warrant for Wise’s Yahoo! records tied to her email account. Holden Beach Police Department, which still is handling the case according to a Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson, did not respond to multiple inquiries. It’s not clear whether Wise is a suspect — as of April 29, Wise has not been arrested by the Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office. It appears that, from an investigative side, the state has more than what it needs; after a review of Brock’s court file Wednesday, no new search warrants have been issued since April 4. On April 15, a grand jury returned a bill of indictment after hearing evidence presented by Watson and Detective John Duncan of the Holden Beach Police Department. Brock’s murder marks the first for the small beach town, home to less than 1,000 residents.
Read more » click here


7. Discussion and Possible Action on Status of 2018 Audit – Mayor Pro Tem Fletcher

Agenda Packet – background information not provided

Previously reported – March 2019
Board authorized request to get an explanation for the delay in the annual audit report

Previously reported – April 2019
We still do not have the completed audit in hand although a rough draft has been provided.

Update –
We still do not have results of the completed audit some seven months after it was due.

Fiscal Year 2017 – 2018 Audit Results
Auditor’s report is due by November 1st and is normally is given at the November meeting. The report still has not been given yet. Town Manager reported at the October meeting that the storm events have delayed the annual audit process. We are still waiting for the report. The auditor Rives & Associates
has advised the Local Government Commission.

Nothing for nothing but it has been like eight months since the last storm event.

Really this is unacceptable.


8. Discussion and Possible Action – Review of Fiscal Year 2019 – 2020 Budget Message – Commissioner Freer

Budget Message
Notice is hereby given that the Budget proposed for the Fiscal Year, beginning July 1, 2019 and ending June 30, 2020, has been submitted to the Board of Commissioners. Click here to view the Budget Message online.

A public hearing on the proposed Budget will be held by the Board of Commissioners at 7:00 p.m. or shortly thereafter on Tuesday, June 18, 2019 in the Holden Beach Town Hall Public Assembly, 110 Rothschild Street. Oral and written comments will be received at the hearing from any interested person.

Key Takeaway

Tax Rate
The value of the Town’s real estate went up almost nine (9) percent in the Brunswick County property revaluation this year. The revenue-neutral rate, the rate necessary to generate the same amount of ad valorem tax revenue, would require the real estate tax rate to go down.
By leaving the tax rate at twenty-two cents per one hundred dollars of valuation essentially what you have is a hidden tax rate increase. The Board of Commissioners top two goals this year were to have no additional taxes and no tax increase.

Previous property valuation of $1.227 billion
Current property revaluation of $1.336 billion
Valuation increase 109,107,354 or @8.89%
2018 Tax rate = $.022 / Collection rate 98.64%
$1,227,304,318 X $.022 = $2,700,069
$1,336,411,672 X $.020 = $2,672,873 / Revenue neutral tax rate $.020 vs. $.022
$1,336,411,672 X $.022 = $2,940,106 / Difference of an additional $240,037 (windfall)

The Board instructed the Town Manager to modify the budget to make it revenue neutral. They have chosen to address the property revaluation and its impact on the Town tax rate and eliminate what would have been a hidden tax increase.

A decision was made – Approved unanimously

Commissioner Sullivan recommended taking it one step further.
Mike took the following position: “The FEMA REIMBURSEMENT was in excess of 3 million dollars. Last year we set aside 3 million dedicated for beach nourishment and transferred an additional 250,000 to the BPART FUND from the general revenue fund. In this year’s budget an additional 250,000 will be transferred into the BPART FUND.  I argued last year and continue to believe that the 250,000 should be used to lower the tax rate by 2 cents. Not doing so is the equivalent of a hidden tax increase resulting from a tax rate that would never have been approved if the BOC knew a FEMA reimbursement would happen.” (Tax rate $.018 vs. $.020)

No decision was made – No action taken


9. Receipt of Inlet and Beach Protection Board Report – Commissioner Freer

Agenda Packet –
April Meeting Update
The Inlet and Beach Protection Board (JBPB) met April 25 and the following issues and topics were addressed:

Status of the Beach and Inlets: Staff provided an overview of conditions and issues relative to the beach strand and inlets. The status of the Florence and Michael remediation project recently renamed the Central Reach Reimbursement Project, (CRR Project) including sand sourcing was discussed. The Wider-Deeper project has been canceled.  Work continues on obtaining easements from East End property owners to allow sand placement in the future.

Comprehensive Long-Term Plan: Work on the Long-Term Plan continues and was the major thrust of the meeting. Cathy Foerster, AIC Senior Planner and Facilitator with ATM is facilitating the effort.  Excellent progress has made on the plan and a first draft is expected at our next meeting.

Meetings: The IBPB was represented at the Brunswick County Shoreline Protection meeting April3. Members will attend the NC Beach Inlets and Waterways Association meeting April 29,30. The next IBPB meeting is May 23.

IBPB Member Richard Rice has submitted his resignation from the Board, effective April 30. Richard is moving to Florida for a new position. We wish him the best in his new endeavors and thank him for his efforts and insights on the IBPB.

Previously reported –
Ordinance 18-02 established the Inlet and Beach Protection Board
The Ordinance requires a written report from this Board

Update –
No issues, accepted report


10. Discussion and Possible Action – Construction Management Services of the Vacuum Sewer System #4 Upgrade Status Report – Public Works Director Clemmons

Agenda Packet – background information not provided

Previously reported – March 2019
New system is up and running without any issues. Met with engineers and prepared punch list items necessary for project completion. He now anticipates project will be completed within the next fourteen (14) days.

Previously reported – April 2019
Leo Green from Green Engineering, the firm used for construction management services, gave the report. They were able to meet the target date for beginning operations there. Punch list items necessary for project completion took longer than expected and pushed them past scheduled completion date. Project has been completed and they have received the final certificate of occupancy.

Update –
Wait, What? It was my understanding that this was put to bed last month. Chris is still talking about punch list items being completed.


11. Discussion and Possible Action on Proposed Ordinance for Maximum House Size Construction – Planning Director Evans

Agenda Packet –

Proposed Zoning Ordinances Changes

  • Maximum House Size Of 6000 Square feet
  • Progressive Setbacks
  • Protection of Storm water Discharge through Reduction
  • Traffic Reduction
  • Reduced Parking Densi1y
  • Reduction of Trash refuse
  • Improve Quali1y Of Life
  • Increase Lot Open Space
  • Decrease Potential Secondary Storm Debris

Item was removed from the agenda
Planning & Inspections Director Tim Evans was not in attendance


12. Discussion and Possible Scheduling of a Date for Interviews for Inlet & Beach Protection Board Vacancy – Town Clerk Finnell

Agenda Packet –
Richard Rice has resigned from the Inlet & Beach Protection Board. Staff recommends the Board schedule a Special Meeting to hold interviews for the vacancy on June 18, 2019 at 6:45p.m., prior to the next Board meeting.

A decision was made – Approved unanimously


13. Discussion and Possible Action on Ordinance 19-08, An Ordinance Enacting and Adopting a Supplement to the Code of Ordinances of the Town of Holden Beach – Town Clerk Finnell

Agenda Packet –
The latest supplement to the Holden Beach Code of Ordinances In listed on the agenda as item 18. The supplement codifies the ordinances the Board approved since the last supplement.

ORDINANCE 19·08
AN ORDINANCE ENACTING AND ADOPTING A SUPPLEMENT TO THE CODE OF ORDINANCES OF THE TOWN OF HOLDEN BEACH, NORTH CAROLINA (Supplement 16)

WHEREAS, American Legal Publishing Corporation of Cincinnati, OH, has completed the 16th supplement to the Code of Ordinances of the Town of Holden Beach, which supplement contains all ordinances of a general and permanent nature enacted since the prior supplement to the Code of Ordinances of the Town of Holden Beach;
For more information » click here

Housekeeping issue
The supplement codifies the ordinances the Board approved since the last supplement.

A decision was made – Approved unanimously


14. Town Manager’s Report

Concert Series
First concert of the season is scheduled for this weekend

Splash Pad
Will be operational for Memorial Day weekend

Beach Strand
They have put garbage pails back out there


15. Executive Session Pursuant to North Carolina General Statute 143-318.11(a)(3), To Consult with the Town Attorney

No decision was made – No action taken


General Comments –

Commissioner Patricia Kwiatkowski – was not in attendance

There were fifteen (15) members of the community in attendance

The BOC’s June Regular Meeting has been rescheduled to the third Tuesday of the month, June 18th

Agenda Packet
A number of agenda items do not have any supporting information in the agenda packet. Previously the Board agreed to only add agenda items with significant supporting documentation. Although I feel everyone should be able to submit something both ATM and Poyner-Spruill are the most egregious agenda items where background information was not provided this month.

RESOLUTION 18-07
RESOLUTION ADOPTING RULES OF PROCEDURE FOR THE BOC’s
The purpose of the proposed agenda is to expedite the conduct and business and enable the Board and members of the public to know in advance the potential subjects that are to be discussed. An agenda package shall be prepared that includes, for each item of business placed on the proposed agenda, as much background information on the subject as is available and feasible to reproduce.

Budget

Local governments must balance their budget by a combination of the following:
. 1)
Raising taxes
. 2)
Cutting spending
. 3)
Operating more efficientl

Ensuring that government commitments are in line with available resources is an essential element of good governance.

The Town Manager’s proposed budget is due by June 1st
Commissioners must adopt budget no later than July 1st for the next fiscal year
Adopting the annual budget is a primary responsibility of the Board

Budget Meeting Schedule / 2019

  • 16 January BOC’s Workshop Goals & Objectives
  • 05 February BOC’s Workshop Goals & Objectives / Capital Programs
  • 15 February Canal Dredging Working Group / PRAB / IBPB
    . * PRAB – Parks & Recreation Advisory Board
    . * IBPB – Inlet & Beach Protection Board
  • 22 February Departments Input to Manager
  • 7 March BOC’s Workshop Revenues & Expenses
  • 21 March BOC’s Workshop Revenues & Expenses
  • 28 March BOC’s Workshop Revenues & Expenses
  • 12 April BOC’s Workshop Revenues & Expenses
  • 19 April BOC’s Workshop Revenues & Expenses
  • 6-10 May Budget Message
  • 18 June Public Hearing
  • 18 June Regular BOC’s Meeting – Ordinance Consideration
  • 1 July Budget adopted (No Later Than)

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Hurricane Season –

Hurricane #1 - CR

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) defines a hurricane as “an intense tropical weather system with a well-defined circulation and maximum sustained winds of 74 mph (64 knots) or higher.”

Be prepared – have a plan!

For assistance with making an emergency plan read more here »
. 1) FEMA Ready
. 2) American Red Cross Disaster and Safety Library
. 3) ReadyNC
. 4) Town Emergency Information
. 5) HBPOIN Hurricane Emergency Plan

THB – EVACUATION, CURFEW & VEHICLE DECALS
For more information » click here

If the Town declares a mandatory evacuation, PLEASE LEAVE
General Assembly during the 2012 Session, specifically authorizes both voluntary and mandatory evacuations, and increases the penalty for violating any local emergency restriction or prohibition from a Class 3 to a Class 2 misdemeanor. Given the broad authority granted to the governor and city and county officials under the North Carolina Emergency Management Act (G.S. Chapter 166A) to take measures necessary to protect public health, safety, and welfare during a disaster, it is reasonable to interpret the authority to “direct and compel” evacuations to mean ordering “mandatory” evacuations. Those who choose to not comply with official warnings to get out of harm’s way, or are unable to, should prepare themselves to be fully self-sufficient for the first 72 hours after the storm.

No matter what a storm outlook is for a given year,

vigilance and preparedness is urged.


 

NOAA: $24 billion in damage from Florence, 9th most destructive in U.S. history
The National Hurricane Center has released its final report on Hurricane Florence. The report states Hurricane Florence made landfall near Wrightsville Beach as a high category 1 hurricane with winds of 80 knots (about 92 mph). The storm resulted in 52 deaths in the Carolinas and Virginia. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI) estimates the damage caused by Florence cost around $24 billion. This makes Florence the ninth-most-destructive hurricane to hit the United States. In North Carolina alone, damaged flooding totaled $22 billion, leaving 30 dead from direct, flooding or wind impacts. All of the freshwater deaths involved motor vehicles. The wind-related deaths were caused by falling trees. In New Hanover County, a tree fell on a home and killed a mother and her son during the storm. North Carolina’s agriculture industry lost about $20 million, consisting of forestry, fishery, damage to farm buildings, equipment, and infrastructure. Field crops, especially tobacco, soybeans, sweet potatoes, corn, and cotton, accounted for most of the state’s agricultural losses. Hurricane Florence caused the worst flooding in local history in Pender County. In just two days during the storm, there were 350 rescues due to closed roads and inundated neighborhoods. Overall, over 1,000 people were rescued and there were 3,882 flood-damaged structures across the county. Approximately 1.1 million people lost power due to Florence’s effects in both North and South Carolina. To view the final Hurricane Florence report, click here.
Read more » click here

Above-normal Atlantic hurricane season is most likely this year
Forecasters at NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center say the Atlantic could see another above-normal hurricane season this year. For the upcoming Atlantic hurricane season, which runs from June 1 through November 30, forecasters predict a 45 percent chance of an above-normal season, a 35 percent chance of a near-normal season, and only a 20 percent chance of a below-normal season.
Read more » click here

Hurricane preparedness week: 2019 Atlantic Hurricane Season 2019 is almost here, prepare before the storm
Hurricane Florence’s effects can still be seen around the region but the 2019 Atlantic Hurricane Season is right around the corner — now is the time to prepare.

The impact of Hurricane Florence will be felt in the Cape Fear region for months to come and it might even take years before the region is restored to pre-Florence conditions, but that doesn’t stop the 2019 Atlantic Hurricane Season from bearing down upon us. That’s why the National Weather Service is promoting this week as National Hurricane Preparedness Week. According to initial hurricane predictions from The Weather Company, the 2019 season is expected to be slightly above average with a total of 14 named storms predicted, seven of which are expected to be hurricanes. According to the National Weather Service, “Hurricanes are among nature’s most powerful and destructive phenomena. On average, 12 tropical storms, six of which become hurricanes form over the Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea, or Gulf of Mexico during the hurricane season which runs from June 1 to November 30 each year.” Recently, the National Weather Service in Wilmington’s Steve Pfaff spoke to residents in Carolina Beach. He encouraged residents to be prepared and not let their guards down simply because Florence made landfall — every year people should be prepared for a storm, regardless of past experiences.

Prepare

The NWS offers several tips to prepare ahead of hurricane season including:

  • Know your zone: Do you live near the Gulf or Atlantic Coasts? Find out if you live in a hurricane evacuation area by contacting your local government/emergency management office or by checking the evacuation site website.
  • Put together an emergency kit: Put together a basic emergency. Check emergency equipment, such as flashlights, generators and storm shutters.
  • Write or review your family emergency plan: Before an emergency happens, sit down with your family or close friends and decide how you will get in contact with each other, where you will go, and what you will do in an emergency. Keep a copy of this plan in your emergency supplies kit or another safe place where you can access it in the event of a disaster. Start at the ready.gov emergency plan webpage.
  • Review your insurance policies: Review your insurance policies to ensure that you have adequate coverage for your home and personal property.
  • Understand NWS forecast products, especially the meaning of NWS watches and warnings.
  • Preparation tips for your home from the Federal Alliance for Safe Homes
  • Preparation tips for those with Chronic Illnesses
    Read more
    » click here

So why do we have a hurricane season?
About 97% of the tropical activity in the Atlantic happens between June 1 and November 30, the National Hurricane Center said. This includes the majority of tropical storms and minor and major hurricanes that have taken place from August through October — the season’s peak.


That’s it for this newsletter

See you next month


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