Travel, accomodations altered in face of storm

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 2, 2009

RALEIGH ó The N.C. Department of Transportation is making preparations to respond to Tropical Storm Hanna. The storm is expected to make landfall between Cape Fear and Myrtle Beach, S.C. about midnight.

The NCDOT Ferry Division suspended service late this morning between Southport and Fort Fisher due to high winds and rough seas. All other ferries are operating on their normal schedules as long as weather permits. For the latest updates to the ferry schedules, call 1-800-BY-FERRY.

As of noon today, North Carolinaís Amtrak passenger train service has been altered in anticipation of Hanna. Service has been suspended for trains 89, 90, 91, 92, 97 and 98, which serve the eastern part of the state.

Service on train 79 from New York to Raleigh has also been cancelled. Train 80 will operate on its regular schedule from Charlotte to Raleigh, but once it arrives in Raleigh, it will turn around and return to Charlotte as Train 79 at its regular departure time of 4:50 p.m.

Trains 19, 20, 73 and 74 will operate on a normal schedule. All train schedules are subject to change as Hanna moves along the East Coast. For questions about train travel or to reschedule a trip, contact 1-800-USA-RAIL.

Tropical storm-force winds are expected in areas along the U.S. 1 corridor and east. The storm has the potential to drop up to six inches of rain in some areas, which may cause flash flooding and hazardous driving conditions.

NCDOT personnel are readying equipment and preparing to respond. Crews have mobilized and staged equipment along N.C. 12 on Pea Island, at Buxton and on Ocracoke Island. Personnel in other parts of the state are ready to assist in the worst hit areas, if needed.

Motorists are advised to avoid driving during and immediately after the storm. If people must travel, they should not drive through flooded roadways. They should turn around and take an alternate route. If there is no alternate route, head to higher ground and wait for the water to subside. Do not attempt to cross over a flooded road even if it seems shallow. Fast-rising waters can wash out roadways, and just one foot of water can float many vehicles, while two feet of rushing water can carry away vehicles including SUVs and pick-ups.

For up-to-date information on road conditions, call NCDOTís toll-free travel hotline, 511, or visit www.ncdot.gov and click on ěTravel Informationî to access details about a specific county or route, as well as ferry and rail information.

For details on Hannaís path, shelter locations and feeding sites, call toll-free to the Governorís Emergency Bilingual Hotline at 1-888-835-9966 or TTY 1-877-877-1765. Operators are available 24-hours a day to answer questions. After the event, the hotline will serve as a referral line for people in need of help.

The North Carolina Division of Tourism, Film and Sports Development is posting updates of accommodations hotlines and availability for individuals in need of lodging as Tropical Storm Hanna unfolds. Go to www.VisitNC.com home page for details.

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