CRAVEN COUNTY, N.C. — June 1 is only a few weeks away and that means hurricane season is almost here.
What You Need To Know
Hurricane season goes from June through November
The Department of Transportation is getting its equipment ready in case of a storm
The 2022 Carteret County Hurricane Preparedness Expo took place this week
The North Carolina Department of Transportation is preparing its equipment to keep people safe when storms come.
“I've been through every hurricane,” transportation supervisor Carlton Jarman said. “I've been out here since 1992, so I've been through Dennis, Floyd, Matthew. I've been through all the hurricanes out here. I've been right with them. It's been a journey.”
Jarman has been working through hurricane seasons with the Department of Transportation for almost 30 years. In New Bern, he and his team have the routine down.
Teams around the state make sure their chainsaws are sharp, trucks are running smoothly and barricades can be set up quickly when needed.
“We try to go out after the storm passes by,” Jarman said. “When the storm passes by, that's when we try to react to the storm.”
Jarman knows that the work he does is essential for keeping the community safe after a hurricane.
“I love my job,” Jarman said. “Dealing with people, fixing roads, preparing roads, knowing people are driving on safe roads. That's the good thing about this.”
But the NCDOT isn't the only group getting ready for hurricane season. On Tuesday, a bunch of vendors came together for a hurricane preparedness expo to let people know how they can prepare.
Dave Leese has had a lot of experience helping out in the aftermath of severe storms.
“We kind of follow disasters in a wake of a disaster,” Leese said. “There's a missions field that opens up, and that's what we're here to help with.”
His biggest advice is to put together a hurricane prep kit. The kit should include blankets, a first aid kit, dried and canned goods, a radio, flashlight, keys, important documents and plenty of water.
But when the damage happens, Jarman and his team will be ready for action.
“This is just your job,” Jarman said. “You go out there and do it with pride. You try to do the best you can to open up these roads to get people on safe roads to drive on. And try to clear the road so people can drive and get back to normal life."
Another important point to remember when it comes to severe weather: listen to the experts to stay safe. Meteorologist Erik Heden with the National Weather Service was also at the hurricane expo.
“The main focus for new people or people that have been here, don't just focus on the category,” Heden said. “We hear it all the time, 'I'm not gonna leave unless it's a two or a three.' That's just wind-related. It doesn't tell us how much rain we have. It doesn't tell us how long the storm will be here. We've had a lot of just category ones.”
He tells locals and newcomers to pay attention to wind, flooding, rip currents, storm surge and tornadoes.
Craven County maintenance engineer Rhett Gerrald says community safety is the No. 1 priority for the NCDOT.
“We want to make sure our roads are safe for the traveling public, or that they're closed in a manner that keeps people from actually accessing those roads in dangerous situations,” Gerrald said. “We take pride in being able to minimize different types of tragic events that could happen, and allow the people to travel safely.”
Gerrald wants to remind people that hurricane season runs from June through November. If we get a big storm, stay off the roads as much as possible until he and his team are able to assess their safety.
If you're looking for more information on how to prepare for hurricane season, you can visit ready ncdot.gov for more preparation information.