The city of Mount Airy is under a state of emergency as Hurricane Florence makes its way across North Carolina.
Among other provisions, a declaration to that effect issued Friday afternoon by Mayor David Rowe allows the police chief to set curfews and take related steps “deemed necessary during a state of emergency situation.”
It refers to Hurricane Florence making landfall on the coast of North Carolina and the major impacts now posed to the entire state.
“As a result of the above-described disaster, I have determined that there is an imminent threat of, or existing conditions have caused or will cause, widespread or severe damage, injury or loss of life or property,” the document from the mayor states.
“And public safety authorities will be unable to maintain public order or afford adequate protection for lives or property.”
Declaring a state of emergency and imposing restrictions and prohibitions as a result are necessary to maintain order and protect public health, safety and welfare, and to secure property, the mayor’s statement reads.
The emergency area covered by the declaration is defined as the city limits of Mount Airy.
Mayor Rowe’s order went into effect Friday at 12:30 p.m. and will remain so until modified or rescinded, with no end date specified.
The mayor has the authority to declare a state of emergency under Article 1A of Chapter 166A of the North Carolina General Statutes, and Article I, Section 2-22 of Chapter 2 of the City of Mount Airy Code of Ordinances.
“I hereby order this declaration (a) to be distributed to the news media and other organizations calculated to bring its contents to the attention of the general public; (b) to be filed with the clerk of the city of Mount Airy; and (c) to be distributed to others as necessary to ensure proper implementation of this declaration,” the mayor states.
Chief urges caution
Police Chief Dale Watson said Friday afternoon that the state of emergency declared in Mount Airy will not necessarily mean any increase in manpower for patrols during the storm period, which is expected to include strong winds and heavy rainfall.
“All our personnel have been put on notice that they could be recalled if needed,” Watson said of police department members.
He said the weather situation will be monitored constantly throughout the weekend and officers will react as needed to any problems that transpire.
“We just ask that the public take general precautions and avoid unnecessary risks,” the police chief advised. “Just be cognizant of the conditions and use common sense.”
Watson said the Mount Airy Police Department will stay in touch with its public safety counterparts in other areas of the county and state during the emergency period.
Mount Airy could be sending personnel to other jurisdictions if needed as part of a spirit of cooperation among them, but only after it is determined that such resources aren’t required here, he said.
Tom Joyce may be reached at 336-415-4693 or on Twitter @Me_Reporter.