Triangle prepares for hurricane evacuations amid COVID-19 pandemic

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Signs of hurricanes like heavy rain and strong winds are not new to North Carolina.

Braving a hurricane during a pandemic is. Emergency officials are suggesting new evacuation options as Hurricane Isaias, expected to impact central North Carolina Monday night, gets closer.

“Due to the pandemic, try to stay with family, friends, or at a hotel before a shelter to minimize contact with others,” said State Emergency Manager Mike Sprayberry.

Heavy foot traffic during storms is commonplace for hotels like the Residence Inn in downtown Raleigh.

“Because Raleigh is up the I-40 corridor evacuation route, I think that people feel safe, especially coming from the cost, to be able to come to Raleigh and ride it out. We have experienced that before with Matthew, with Florence,” said Pete Byers, who is General Manager Residence Inn Raleigh Downtown.

Tracking the Tropics: Latest on Hurricane Isaias

The hotel even frequently hosts utility and emergency workers who help in the aftermath. While they haven’t yet seen a large demand for rooms in anticipation of Isaias, they’re staying prepared just in case. They’re keeping up with their new COVID-19 cleaning procedures too.

“There’s quite a different change in how we approach cleaning the hotel, sanitizing and disinfecting,” said Byers.

To prepare, experts also suggest filling up your gas tank, having cash on hand in case of a power outage, and picking up any needed supplies for your emergency kit.

One shopper picked up a few extra supplies Friday.

“We got the milk and everything. Now we bought some drinks like sodas and juices,” said Raleigh resident Ramzi.

While others seem less concerned.

“I think it’s gonna glance off the coast. We’ll get a little rain and wind and that’s it,” said Raleigh resident Laura.

While the storm is still being tracked, Gov. Roy Cooper said it’s best to be overly prepared.

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