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Iredell County, Statesville prepare for Ian

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Ian isn't over. Here's where the storm goes next

Soon we will know more about the trail of destruction Hurricane Ian has left behind in southwest Florida. Many of the hardest hit areas lost all communications during the height of the storm, and it isn’t over yet.

It doesn't matter whether it is a hurricane or tropical storm by the time it makes landfall again on the East Coast, Ian will bring plenty of rain to Iredell County, according to the National Weather Service.

"NWS is telling us to expect 4-6 inches of rain with gusts up to around 35 mph," Kent Greene, Iredell County Fire Services and Emergency Management director, said in an email.

Greene said he and the department will continue to watch forecasts and attend the NWS briefings as it prepares locally for the storm.

The NWS issued a number of warnings, including a tropical storm warning as winds are expected to be as high as 40 mph overnight and could increase to as high as 60 mph as the storm brings what will eventually be a 100% chance of rain for the area. Winds are expected to subside on Saturday.

The question remains exactly how strong the storm will be as it crosses over Florida, back into the Atlantic Ocean, and then is expected to make landfall again in the Carolinas.

As the tropical storm moved northeast on Thursday afternoon, the National Hurricane Center issued hurricane warnings for parts of South Carolina where the storm is expected to make landfall while tropical storm warnings and storm surge watches were issued for areas southward of Duck.

No matter what it is, Greene said that in Iredell County, all of their generators have been checked to ensure they are serviced and fueled as they prepare for the storm and all shelter equipment has been inventoried and is ready, but it isn't anticipated any will need to be opened.

Mooresville Fire-Rescue has one swift water team deployed to the North Carolina Emergency Management Western Branch Office in Conover, but Greene said there are an additional five teams in the county should they be needed. 

Statesville readies itself for Ian

Like its county counterpart, Statesville's departments made preparations for the storm in a number of ways, which according to the city included cleaning out storm drains, filling up gas tanks for city vehicles, generators, and equipment, while city crews also sharpened chainsaws and made sure generators, radios and other communication equipment are in working order as well.

“We have to be prepared for the worst-case scenario,” said City Manager Ron Smith. “From downed trees and power lines to flooding and road closures, we will have crews on standby ready when needed.”

The city encouraged residents to prepare for emergency situations with emergency preparedness kits, which typically included bottled water, nonperishable foods, blankets, change of clothes, batteries, and first aid supplies.

For Statesville Electric Utilities customers, they are asked to report any outages to 704-878-3479 and provide an address and a callback number while being urged not to call 911 to report a power outage.

The last major tropical storm to hit Iredell County was Tropical Depression Ida last August.

In May, at least one tornado touched down among numerous funnels clouds and struck northern Iredell County, and damaged several buildings. 

Follow Ben Gibson on Facebook and Twitter at @BenGibsonSRL

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