Coast Guard Sector N.C. sets heavy weather bill for Tropical Storm Cristobal

PORTSMOUTH, Va. – Coast Guard personnel in Sector North Carolina have set the heavy weather bill in preparation for Tropical Storm Cristobal today.

Coast Guard personnel prepared for Cristobal by securing all loose items at the stations and units, doubling all mooring lines, removing skiffs and small craft from the water, and at stations with no protection from the elements, removed small craft from the water or relocated them to protected areas.

“Coast Guard units will remain operational to assist mariners in distress,” said Chief Petty Officer Thomas Sudsberry, the command duty officer at Sector North Carolina. “As the heavier weather rolls in and the wind speeds pick up, some small boat stations along the coast may have slower response times or be unable to respond.”

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency, the center of the storm is currently located 115 miles east of Charleston, S.C., and is expected to travel northeast along the coast for the next few days.

Cristobal currently has sustained wind speeds of 40 mph with higher gusts, and NOAA has forecasted a likelihood that it will strengthen over the next couple of days.

The storm may cause heavy rainfall, high winds and surf along the coast of South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia in the next few days as the system moves slowly northeastward near the coast.

The Coast Guard urges mariners to always:

* Stay Informed – The public should be aware of weather condition and monitor the progress and strength of the storm through local television, radio and internet. Boaters can monitor its progress on VHF channel 16.
* Check the current and expected weather and water conditions before heading out, and be aware that weather conditions can quickly change.
* Wear their lifejackets while on the water.
* File a float plan with friends, family members and their local marina before heading out. The list should include the number of passengers onboard the vessel, their destination and expected time of return.
* Always have a working radio onboard their vessel as cell phone coverage varies from region to region.
* Carry marine flares onboard their vessel to signal rescuers in distress and emergency situations.
* Keep a Global Positioning System or Electronic Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB) so that they may be easier to locate in the event of distress.
* Secure your belongings – Owners of recreational boats are urged to take appropriate precautions to prevent damage to their and others’ vessels.

“The Coast Guard recommends all boaters to keep a close eye on the weather,” said Sudsberry. “If at all possible, avoid going on the water as Tropical Storm Cristobal passes through the area.”

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