09/13/18 — Fremont officials urge caution during Hurricane Florence

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Fremont officials urge caution during Hurricane Florence

By Joey Pitchford
Published in News on September 13, 2018 5:50 AM

FREMONT -- During Hurricane Matthew in 2016, northern Wayne County escaped the kind of mass flooding that occurred south of the Neuse River in areas like Seven Springs and Mar-Mac.

That does not mean that Hurricane Florence poses no threat to towns like Fremont and Pikeville, and officials in the area are urging caution, patience and preparation when the wind starts to blow and the rain starts to fall.

The town of Fremont held a public meeting Tuesday to provide information to its residents about how to stay safe during the storm. Town Administrator Barbara Aycock said the Fremont Town Hall will be partially staffed while Florence is passing over, in order to take emergency calls. The town hall has a generator, Aycock said, and so it will likely retain power even if other areas in town do not.

"As a last resort, we can open up our conference hall to people in an emergency," she said. "We're saying that if people have any idea that they're going to have special needs, to go ahead and go to a shelter."

Aycock said that the town has focused on clearing out ditches and storm drains ahead of the rainfall, as well as taking down any tree limbs that potentially could fall.

Fremont Police Chief Paul Moats said that all of the town's full-time officers will be on duty during the storm.

"We'll be working in conjunction with the local fire department, the National Guard and public works in order to make sure that the public is safe and that we can evacuate anybody that's stranded or in an emergency situation," Moats said.

That does not mean Fremont officers will be out on the road during the storm itself, he said.

"We will not be out during the worst part of the storm, once the winds reach 65 miles per hour," Moats said.

"Then, of course, we'll be (off the road). We'll only be responding to life-threatening situations that require our immediate response. Anything else is going to have to wait until after the storm is over."

While Fremont did not flood too badly during Matthew, there are still areas in town Moats said are liable to experience flash flooding. Those include the intersection of Ballance Road and Sycamore Street, the intersection of Norwayne Alumni Way and Sycamore Street, and the intersection of Norwayne Alumni Way and Memorial Church Road, Moats said. Other areas in town may also flood, depending on the amount of rainfall.

Aycock urged people to stay safe in their homes and allow emergency crews to get wherever they need to go. The conference room at the Town Hall is not a public sanctuary, she said, and will only be available in case of a life-threatening emergency.

"If you are on oxygen, for example, please make sure you know where you're going to go if you lose power," she said. "That's one of the examples of why we'd open the conference room because we will have power here."