Charlotte area organizations still busy with hurricane preps

Charlotte area organizations still busy with hurricane preps

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - The old Eastland Mall site on Central Avenue is now a temporary staging area for the Red Cross for hurricane relief response.

The organization has about two dozen 53-foot trailers parked at the site.

"We staged them a couple of days ago in advance of the storm with the expectation that we might need these supplies to North and South Carolina," said Brad Newcomb.

Newcomb, the Disaster Program Manager says, the trailers are stocked with a variety of items.

"Cots, blankets, all sorts of logistical things that we need to be able to open up multiple shelters across a region in the aftermath of a storm," Newcomb said.

The Red Cross says the trailers will be at the staging area for another day or two. Some have already been taken to other areas.

"This was initially the headquarters for all of North Carolina when we expected that the track was going to come through this area. Now that the track has shifted, we want to shift our headquarters and our logistical train closer to the center of impact," Newcomb told WBTV.

The Red Cross says even though the hurricane seems to be drifting to a different track than previously predicted, volunteers are still ready to respond to the Greater Charlotte area if the weather turns.

"We do have all the supplies we need to open up shelters in Charlotte. We've been in consultation with Mecklenburg and Iredell Emergency Management through the morning and we feel very comfortable with the equipment personnel we have to open up shelters here locally," Newcomb said. "We tentatively have sites picked out for five different shelters at five different schools in the area but we're not planning on publicizing that information if and until it's needed. We also have several sites picked out in Iredell County."

Duke Energy says its line crews and technicians are also ready to go to where outages may occur.

"Anytime we see high winds we can see outages because that's when tree limbs can start to fall even entire trees. They can fall into power equipment, and power poles and cause outages for customers," said Meghan Miles.

The utility company says crews have been checking supplies and making sure that they have all the materials needed to make repairs to restore service.

"We have about 3,000 line technicians available in the Carolinas and we're able to shift them to different areas of the Carolinas where we expect to see a bigger impact from the storm," Miles said. "We've also asked for 1,000 line technicians from other utilities that are nearby and we also have 1,000 line technicians that are coming from our Midwest operations to help with power restoration in the Carolinas and Florida."

Duke Energy says crews are currently doing their normal routine work, but are making preparations to travel if they're needed to go.

In Florida, we are expecting to see a big impact to the service territory there so we do have line crews and technicians that are there in staging areas right outside of Florida and possibly Georgia.

"We're still figuring out where the staging areas will be based on where the hurricane is expected to hit," Miles said. "But we do have crews that are ready to descend upon Florida to help restore customers as quickly and safely as possible."

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