North Carolina Insurance Commissioner visits Kinston to discuss 2024 Hurricane Season

KINSTON, N.C. (WITN) – Hurricane season kicks off June 1st and the North Carolina Insurance Commissioner paid a visit to Kinston to chat with residents about what they can do to prepare in advance.

Wednesday, North Carolina Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey urged the Kinston community to get ready for an active hurricane season.

“First responders, the mayor, city council, everybody in every county is here to help and do what we can ahead of time,” Causey said.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) predicts above-normal hurricane activity in the Atlantic this year, thanks to warmer waters.

Lenoir County is no stranger to flooding. According to the National Weather Service (NWS), between 13 and 19 inches of rain fell during Hurricane Florence back in 2018.

“It happens very quickly and there are no warning sirens so people really need to be aware of their surroundings and if the fire department comes and knocks on the door and says it’s time to go, it’s time to go,” Kinston Fire Department Interim Chief Chad Jackson said.

Connie Clark has been living in her home in Kinston for almost 10 years and said during the last flood, her driveway was covered in water, forcing her to evacuate. However, Clark says her home doesn’t get hit as hard as other houses across the street.

“They had to pretty much vacate their houses and start over,” Clark said.

Willie Hardy has lived across the street in his house for 15 years and said he’s had to leave twice thanks to the flooding, including the time when water made its way up to his porch.

Despite the constant flooding, Hardy said he doesn’t take any precautions during hurricane season

“Well we might have to leave, that’s all we can do,” Hardy said. “Yeah, nothing we can do.”

Officials remind residents that having a plan may save lives and property when disaster strikes.

According to the NWS, the Neuse River reached 24.7 feet during Hurricane Florence, its third highest level. According to NOAA, they are forecasting at least 4 to 7 major hurricanes and at least 17 to 25 named storms this hurricane season.