Hurricane Matthew has left sheer devastation in five states along the Atlantic Coast. While significant flooding from rain and storm surge was anticipated in several coastal communities in Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina; not even the most experienced weather experts at the National Hurricane Center were able to predict the deluge of rain that would fall on North Carolina and Southeast Virginia in the final hours of the storm before it dissipated out to sea. The rivers and streams in North Carolina have flooded to historic levels and are resulting in levee failure and significant flooding in many communities across the state. This is in addition to the significant flooding all along the I-95 corridor from Vero Beach, FL, to Virginia Beach, VA.
Two million homes and businesses lost power at some point during the event, including several NEMA member facilities. The largest convoy of utility service providers since Super Storm Sandy has been deployed to the impacted areas resulting in rapid restoration of the electric grid. The dangers of downed power lines and the improper use of generators will be of great concern until power is fully restored in all communities.
Electronic copies of the NEMA Evaluating Water-Damaged Electrical Equipment guidelines have been distributed to emergency management officials, building officials, and electrical professionals in the five states impacted by the storm. Five hundred additional hard copies have been sent to the North Carolina State Board of Examiners of Electrical Contractors for distribution to electrical professionals, homeowners, and business owners impacted by the flood.
Community outreach and the distribution of NEMA guidance documents will continue during the restoration and recovery period.