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2002 News from Mecklenburg County

December 5, 2002 


Charlotte, NC – City of Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory and Mecklenburg Board of County Commissioners Chairman Tom Cox have declared a state of emergency, due to the storm.  The towns of Huntersville, Pineville and Matthews have also declared a state of emergency.

The state of emergency declaration allows access to federal and state reimbursements for damages and the cost incurred to clean up.  The declaration also allows local government to impose various restrictions for the purpose of maintaining public order and protecting life and property, including restricting movement and regulating the sale of gasoline, kerosene and other products. 

Damages are currently being assessed by a wide variety of City, County, State and private agencies.  The immediate priority is to clear streets and remove downed trees and limbs from power lines.  While debris removal is under way, it may take several days to clear streets and sidewalks.  Individuals with trees and limbs down on private property are responsible for debris removal.  If they can get it to the curb, collection crews will collect it.  Please be patient as it may take several days.

· Duke Power: Approximately 1 in 2 customers throughout their system is without power.  Duke has called in assistance from other states and called in all contractors.
· More than 45 City crews focused on clearing debris from primary routes.  For safety reasons, debris removal will stop at dusk and crews will then concentrate on street maintenance.
· Charlotte Fire Department:  Continuing to respond to fires, primarily electrical, and downed power lines.
· Medic: Has responded to several dozen calls for medical assistance.
· Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department: Continues to direct traffic at major intersections where signal lights are not functioning or at locations with downed power lines.
· Red Cross: Four shelters are currently open:  Providence High School, East Mecklenburg High School, Vance High School and The Metro School.  Individuals with special medical needs should go to the Metro School.  Should demand require, additional shelter locations will be opened.
· Department of Social Services:  Assisting in transportation to Red Cross shelters and helping citizens with special needs.
· Park and Recreation:  Cancelled all afternoon and Thursday evening classes and activities.
· Solid Waste:  City crews continue to run garbage routes and anticipate large amounts of yard debris in the coming days. The County has four compost centers open throughout the weekend and has waived the fees for citizens to drop off yard waste.


The Mayor of the City of Charlotte, the Chairman of the Mecklenburg Board of County Commissioners, and the mayors of the six towns, are authorized and empowered by state statute to declare a state of emergency.  The Mayor and the Chairman are also authorized to order evacuation, curfews, restrictions on possession, consumption, or transfer of weapons and alcoholic beverages, and restrictions on access to areas.

Any proclamation of a state of emergency shall expire in five days, unless extended or terminated in writing.

Additional Services Information:

The Department of Social Services (DSS) will maintain a 24-hour staffed telephone line at 704-336-2273 to receive calls about any issues or concerns regarding children, adults, seniors or other at-risk/vulnerable people.  DSS will continue to operate transportation units for those residents who need a ride to shelters.  The transportation dispatch number is 704-353-0689.  DSS also is providing staff for special needs shelter located at the Metro School.  Those seniors in the senior nutrition program who need food should contact the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) 704-943-3809.

Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation facilities will close at 3 p.m. today.  Indoor facilities with power and phone service will be open Friday beginning at 9 a.m. or in accordance with delayed schedules established by the County Manager.  Several parks will remain closed indefinitely until all limb, tree and safety hazards are eliminated. Major park closings include McDowell, Reedy Creek and Latta Plantation Nature Preserves, Hornets Nest Park, Park Road Park, Jetton Park on Lake Norman, Freedom Park and Huntingtown Farms Park. Operations and maintenance personnel will work 7 – 5 p.m. through the weekend to continue debris removal and damage assessments.
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Media Contact:  Danny Diehl or Julie Hill, 704-943-3822

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