RIEMA: Contacting loved ones in Florence’s path may be difficult


PROVIDENCE, R.I (WPRI) — As the Carolinas begin to feel the wrath of Hurricane Florence, residents will likely struggle contacting loved ones far away. 

On Thursday, R.I. Emergency Management Agency Director Peter Gaynor warned it might take time to get a hold of someone near the southeastern United States coast.

“You’ve got to be really persistent because the infrastructure will be stressed over the next couple of days,” Gaynor said. 

The first way to try and contact someone is obvious: call them. Gaynor says all of the major cell carriers have prepared for this storm. 

A spokesperson for AT&T says they have 24 portable cell towers ready to be deployed. They also plan to launch drones with the same capabilities that can fly over devastated areas after the storm leaves. They were used for the first time in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria struck. 

“They’re built for disasters,” Gaynor said.

Gaynor also suggested texting if the phone call won’t go through but ultimately, he said to be ready to have no contact.

“They’re going to have no communication for a period of time,” he said. “No power for a period of time. You’ve got to be prepared for that.”

Another solution is the American Red Cross. On its Safe and Well page, you can search the names of anyone who has checked in at a Red Cross shelter.

Finally, Gaynor advised to check social media. It’s possible a loved one will be able to post on Facebook or Twitter through their account or a friend’s.

TRACKING FLORENCE: In-Depth Coverage & Hurricane Tracker » | Pinpoint Weather Blog » | Detailed 7-Day Forecast » | Ocean & Bay Forecast » | Storm Ready Resource Guide » | Follow the Pinpoint Weather Team on Twitter »

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