SALISBURY, NC (WBTV) - This is more of a personal plea than a news story, but I still hope it's something you'll consider. As you may know, I'm a native of Rowan County. It's where I live now and where my family and many of my friends live. I genuinely care what happens in Rowan County because I'm personally invested in it.
That's all to say that I want to encourage you, my fellow Rowan County citizens, to get ready for what Hurricane Irma may bring us.
I was here when Hugo came through in 1989. I remember sitting up in the den with my wife and our then one-year-old son hearing trees falling in my back yard and praying that they didn't hit the house. We had a very close call, but thankfully, very little damage.
We didn't know that Hugo was coming our way then the way we know about Hurricane Irma now. And while these forecasts and path projections are never perfect, there's a good enough chance of Irma coming through the Charlotte area that I think we all need to be prepared right now.
If you're uncertain about what to do, I would encourage you to visit the web site Ready Rowan: https://www.rowancountync.gov/206/ReadyROWAN.
This site is obviously geared towards Rowan County, but the information and advice fits no matter where you may live.
This is one of the most comprehensive checklist type pages you'll find anywhere, There is information here that can literally save your life, or at the very least, help you weather whatever Irma brings.
Frank Thomason, the Rowan Emergency Services Director, told me that he is doing all he can to make sure our county is prepared for whatever Irma brings on Monday night or Tuesday. I've worked with him a long time and I trust him completely. When he says "get ready," you can believe it's time to get ready.
I'm not trying to alarm you, I'm just letting you know that I think you should be prepared now for the very real potential of damage brought about by this storm.
I will be out in it working, doing everything I can to give you the latest information. I would ask for your prayers and hope that you'll be praying for all of those who will be working, especially law enforcement, firefighters, EMS, energy company line crews, aid workers, and on and on.
The time to start staying safe is now.