September 9th, Governor Cooper declared a state of emergency for North Carolina in preparation for Hurricane Florence. Florence was upgraded to a Category 4 storm with winds of 140 mph. North and South Carolina are being told to prepare for the most powerful storm to hit in over three decades.
In comparison, Hurricane Matthew was downgraded to a category 1 by the time it reached North Carolina. Hurricane Matthew hit Fayetteville in October 9, 2016 taking with it 31 lives of North Carolina residents. In the wake of the storm there were 2,336 swift water rescues. Shelters took in over four thousand evacuees. These shelters housed the victims until November 14, 2016.
“Matthew and the many storms before and since it has taught us a few things about being prepared,” said Tom McCollum, Fort Bragg garrison’s public affairs officer. “These lessons have not fallen on deaf ears. Fort Bragg and Fayetteville have already begun to prepare. For example, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) began staging supplies here at Fort Bragg. These staging supplies include blankets, generators, water, cots and other emergency supplies and have been delivered to Fort Bragg’s Simmons Army Airfield. FEMA will send them to the areas hit hardest and where they’ll do the most good.”
Fort Bragg has often been used as a staging ground for hurricane relief. Some Fort Bragg units and the Garrison staff, as well as North Carolina National Guard members, are on standby for storm duties and any relief efforts.