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CNN Today

North Carolina Emergency Management Agency: 'Stay Off The Roads'

Aired January 25, 2000 - 2:02 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

LOU WATERS, CNN ANCHOR: The South, in general, is ill-equipped to handle major winter storms like this. To find out how North Carolina is coping today, we're joined on the line now from Raleigh by Tom Ditt. He is the information officer for the North Carolina Emergency Management Agency.

And I understand, Mr. Ditt, you're calling from home, where you would like more North Carolinians to be today.

TOM DITT, N. CAROLINA EMERGENCY MGMT.: That is correct, Lou. We would like everybody to stay home, stay off the roads. We've got approximately 340,000 people without power across Central North Carolina. Governor Jim Hunt declared a state of emergency around mid- morning. North Carolina National Guard, department of transportation and highway patrol, all emergency workers are out there trying to do their best to get the roads open.

WATERS: And we understand, we had one of our correspondents, Gary Tuchman, out on the road in North Carolina today, even had to assist a motorist, telling us that the National Guard is out there assisting. Who are these people out on the road. With a storm like this, do they think they can accomplish something today?

DITT: There are people who were out on the road, some tractor trailer drivers who were on their regular runs. Other people just got stranded. The problem that causes is that they abandon their cars. DOT crews have to take the time to get around them, scraping the rounds, highway patrol, local law enforcement, National Guard have to stop and make sure that there is no one in these vehicles.

So it's a time consuming effort, and it causes more problems than people just getting out.

WATERS: So you're at home and you are the information officer. I assume you're getting your information by computer today, is that how that is working?

DITT: The world of telecommunications and Internet, sitting here with computer, fax machine, and voice mail. So that's what more people should be doing today.

WATERS: I'm sure it has not escaped your attention that when media talks about savage weather in the last few months North Carolina is always mentioned.

DITT: We have had our share over the last year with Hurricane Floyd, now 18.2 inches of snow as of 11:00 this morning, that is going to probably break a record going back to 1927 and before that.

WATERS: And I would imagine that with a snow like that, you might be anticipating more flooding in the spring?

DITT: There is that possibility, but our emergency folks, we've been tested with Floyd. So I think we can handle anything that comes our way, Lou.

WATERS: All right. good luck to you, Mr. Ditt. Mr. Ditt in the North Carolina Emergency Management information officer. He's at home today.

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