Colleges, police, workers prepare for Hurricane Florence’s impact in Charlotte

Colleges, police, workers prepare for Hurricane Florence’s impact in Charlotte

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - The University of North Carolina Charlotte (UNCC) campus has been preparing for Hurricane Florence for the past eight days.

Crews believe the plan they have in place will work. They are concerned about the roughly 6,000 students who maybe staying in campus dormitories during the storm.

“We got backup generators that have been delivered to campus,” Director of Emergency Management Chris Gonyar said. “To ensure that we are able to continue our food service and our housing service.”

One of the first things crews will do is secure items that could fly away easily and pose a danger if winds pick up.

Crews will find free standing signs positioned throughout the campus. Also umbrellas that are stationed at tables will also be put up.

Leaders are concerned about the constant rain that Florence will bring to the campus.

“We have about five or six areas on campus that we know generally if we get two or three inches of rain in an hour that we have issues with ,” UNCC Director of Facilities Lee Snodgrass said. “So we went on ahead to address those areas of sandbags. We have 1500 additional sandbags ready to go if we need them.”

About 10 UNCC workers will stay on the campus over the weekend. They will make sure if there are any issues, they will get taken care of immediately.

Safety is also a concern for cranes that can be seen all over Uptown Charlotte. One company says it has at least 15 cranes operating.

Dennis Kenna is the President of Heede Southeast. He says his cranes are designed to withstand more than 100 mph winds. He says his cranes operate like a weather vane when winds reach more than 45 mph.

“By all of the buildings being so close together and so much traffic and other people to walk around,” Uptown worker Da’Mon Flemming said. “That is kind of scary.”

Flemming says cranes battling Florence should be no problem, but others are concerned.

This storm will have some police officers working overtime.

Randy Hagler is president of the North Carolina Fraternal Order of Police (FOP). Hagler says officers not in the path of Florence have already reached out to lend a hand.

Officers are ready to take their mobile kitchen on the road to help officers assisting Hurricane victims.

“A place to relax with decent food,” Hagler said. “To give them nourishment - to let them rest when they can and get back in the game and get back to work.”

NC FOP President says not only can officers rely on their colleagues to give them food, but also will assist them if they become victims.

“If we have officers displaced,” Hagler said. “If so, give us an idea of how many is in the family and how many we are talking about - if we can get sizes - they are going to bring clothes with them.”

If you would like to donate to help officers working the storm, click here.

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