NC Governor declares state of emergency ahead of Idalia

Published 12:10 am Wednesday, August 30, 2023

On Monday, N.C. Gov. Roy Cooper declared a State of Emergency to activate the state’s emergency operations plan, waive transportation rules to help the transport of fuel and critical supplies and services, help first responders and assist the agriculture industry to prepare in advance for inclement weather and protect consumers from price gouging.

Idalia, which was expected to hit Florida as a Category 3 hurricane sometime Wednesday morning, is expected to bring several hazards to North Carolina on Wednesday and Thursday, with the risk of flooding from heavy rain particularly in southeast North Carolina.

“We are continuing to monitor Idalia’s course and its potential impacts on our state and it’s critical to make sure we are fully prepared,” said Cooper. “It is important for North Carolinians to gather emergency kits and prepare for the storm before it’s too late. We also want to make sure our farmers are able to protect their crops.”

Salisbury Mayor Karen Alexander said she hopes residents will pay attention to suggestions from Cooper.

“As Gov. Cooper declares a state of emergency for North Carolina ahead of anticipated severe weather, I urge our residents to take extreme caution before and during this impending storm,” Alexander said Tuesday. “Be sure to follow local weather forecasts and Rowan County area Emergency Management and staff recommendations. Our city employees are weather ready to keep our residents, workers and visitors safe.”

“We are working together with our local jurisdictions to ensure we have necessary resources staged to support emergency response needs,” said North Carolina Emergency Management Director Will Ray. “We are grateful for the partnership to protect our communities, the 10.6 million North Carolinians, and visitors.”

The governor and state officials advise the following tips to make sure people are personally prepared:

  • Have multiple ways to receive emergency information, including watches and warnings. Make sure emergency alerts are enabled on a cell phone and download a weather app.
  • Have an emergency plan. Know where to go if there’s a need to evacuate. Make a plan to stay with family, friends or at a hotel. Public shelters should be a last resort.
  • Gather some emergency supplies or refresh an emergency kit. Visit for info on how to build an emergency kit.
  • If people live near or are visiting the coast, be aware if you are located in a coastal evacuation zone. Visit to see if you are located in a pre-determined evacuation zone. Learn your zone and listen for it if evacuations are ordered by local governments.
  • Never drive through flooded roadways. Turn around, don’t drown.

As part of the state of emergency, Attorney General Josh Stein has said the price gouging law is now in effect.

“Hurricane Idalia is coming — please be prepared, and remember that North Carolina’s price gouging law is in effect,” said Stein. “Most businesses do right by their customers, but if you see price gouging, report it to my office at  or by calling 877-5-NO-SCAM (66-7226). I will do everything in my power to hold any bad actor accountable.”

North Carolina’s law against price gouging, or charging too much in times of a crisis, goes into effect when the governor or the legislature declares a state of emergency. In some cases, businesses and industries that are heavily impacted by the incident causing the state of emergency have a reasonable need to increase prices in order to resupply, but they should disclose these increases so people can make informed purchasing decisions. Businesses cannot, however, unreasonably raise the price of goods or services to profit from a state of emergency.

By Tuesday afternoon, Idalia was a Category 1 hurricane, expected to increase to a Category 3 as it approached landfall near Cedar Key, Florida. Current tracks for the storm indicate the southeast corner of North Carolina will get the strongest impact of whatever remains of Idalia sometime Thursday, but both local and state officials say better to be prepared than to be caught off guard. The storm is expected to curve out to sea toward Bermuda after crossing the lower corner of North Carolina.