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By Erin Smith

Bladen County Emergency Management officials are expecting few problems with the visit from Hurricane Michael. The forecast calls for winds gusting to 40 miles per hour and up to 4 inches or rainfall in Bladen County for Thursday into Thursday night.

“We stand ready to respond,” said Bladen County Emergency Management Director Bradley Kinlaw.

Bladen County has not declared a State of Emergency ahead of the storm. Bladen County Schools, Emereau:Bladen, and Bladen Community College cancelled classes for Thursday, as a precaution.

He said officials do not expect to see issues like the ones experienced with Hurricane Florence. Hurricane Michael is expected to move quickly through the area Thursday afternoon unlike the very slow moving Hurricane Florence.

Kinlaw said there is the possibility of flash flooding in some locations. He said the main concern with Hurricane Michael is the possibility of tornados developing. Kinlaw said the county is prepared if a tornado should develop.

“The bad part of tropical tornados is they drop down so quickly. The warning period is very short versus a typical spring time tornado,” said Kinlaw.

He also said the tornados that develop with tropical weather systems tend to be short-lived events compared to those that develop in typical thunderstorms.

Kinlaw also said the county is expecting to receive between 2 and 4 inches of rainfall. He said there are no plans to open emergency shelters at this time, but staff are poised to do so should the need arise.

He added, a lot depends on the track that Hurricane Michael takes as it nears North Carolina, as to exactly what impacts Bladen County will receive.

Reid Hawkins, with the National Weather Service, said the Cape Fear River is expected to reach moderate flood stage this weekend. Hawkins said the river should crest at William O. husky Lock and Dam No. 1 on Sunday and at Elizabethtown on Monday.

Kinlaw encouraged everyone to monitor their local news outlets and weather radios.