What Wilmington, area counties can expect for Hurricane Isaias

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Counties are gearing up for the possibility of flooding

Wilmington-area counties are coordinating emergency services to prepare for the arrival of Hurricane Isaias.

The National Weather Service is currently predicting high wind speeds and 4-6 inches of rain in the Wilmington region.

“There will be some showers, maybe some thunderstorms on Monday,” said Steven Pfaff, morning coordination meteorologist at the National Weather Service. “The bulk of heavy rainfall isn’t until Monday night into Tuesday morning, and that’s when we think the potential for flooding is greatest in this system.”

Flooding is most probable in beach towns, islands and low-lying areas.

Pfaff said Brunswick County could be hard hit.

“There is a potential for beach erosion, we think more so for the Brunswick County coast,” he said. “You can have storm surge with high tide, you have a better chance for beach erosion and flooding.”

Scott Garner, deputy director of Brunswick Emergency Management, said the county was reviewing evacuation options.

“We’re prepping our shelters and having it ready in case of an evacuation,” adding that several beach towns have issued evacuations for non-residents and guests. “Right now people are discussing an evacuation of residents, especially those in low-lying areas.”

New Hanover County has enacted a partial emergency activation, staffing roughly a third of its emergency management, logistics, planning, operations and first responder teams.

A full activation would require a full state of emergency, which may be enacted by a chair of a county commission or mayor of town or city.

“Right now the likelihood is tropical storm force winds will affect us Monday evening and Tuesday morning, with fringe winds being in are area in mid-day Tuesday,” said Kate Oelslager, spokeswoman for New Hanover County. “Once it hits our latitude it will be pushed out of area fairly quickly.”

New Hanover County is currently forecast to receive 3 inches of rainfall.

Counties are treating shelters as a last resort in light of COVID-19, since social distancing would be impossible in such close quarters.

Pender County is currently monitoring the storm.

“Right now it looks like it’s going to be a tropical storm or not a hurricane,” said Carson Smith, interim emergency management coordinator for Pender County. “We’re forecasted to get 2-4 inches in Pender, but west of us could get 4-6 inches.”

“Normally if we get 4-6 inches it’s minor problems,” he continued, “but 8-10 inches causes significant river flooding.”

According to Tammy Proctor, public information officer for Pender County, all of Pender’s rivers and streams are at or below normal stages.

Reporter Jonathan Haynes can be reached at 910-343-2339 or jhaynes@starnewsonline.com