Wilmington leaders satisfied with city’s response to ice storm

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Submitted: Fri, 02/14/2014 - 3:20pm
Updated: Sat, 02/15/2014 - 12:06am

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — With power and traffic lights still out in some areas and a big clean-up underway, city leaders are speaking out about Wilmington’ response to this week’s winter storm.

“We don’t fix outages,” Police Chief Ralph Evangelous said. “We implemented our hurricane plan that we do every year, that we have every year. We do the exact same thing every year. I mean I don’t know what you want us to do. Cut trees down and fix power lines?”

Of course no one expects Wilmington police officers to replace power crews, but Mayor Bill Saffo says the city’s streets needed more manpower.

“We do not have enough personnel in regards to the police department to be able to handle all of the intersections that were affected, because they were also answering calls of service for people that needed police help,” Saffo said. “Wwe’ve had a lot of lights go out, and we had a lot of people on the road, even though we told them not to get out on the road, and that caused a lot of problems.”

As the clean-up continues, City Manager Sterling Cheatham says the city’s response was appropriate.

“I think the proof is in the outcome,” Cheatham said. “If you drive the streets of Wilmington, you see the streets are open and a lot of the debris is on the curb to be picked up.”

Saffo said, “We feel pretty good. Obviously it was a pretty significant storm, ice storm that hit us, but still we have a lot of people coordinating and working together to get power.”

Now city leaders say it’s time to look back and learn from this storm to move forward. Mayor Saffo says the city will soon evaluate the storm response in an attempt to be even more prepared for a similar event or even hurricanes.


  • Guest Reply Redux says:

    Cheatham is looking at these areas via Google Street view that you mentioned…and see’s nothing wrong. Someone forgot to tell him (Cheatham) that those photo shots are about 2-5 years old…at least :-(

  • Bill Barry says:

    Really Mr. Cheatham? Have you driven down 3rd street? The east bound lane just past Dock has been blocked off since the storm. Now coming into town is blocked off. This is a major road coming into and out of town as well as the main route taken by emergency services. I could go on. Side walks are blocked up and down Market Street for Kids who have to go to school, that is true to 12:00 PM on 2/14/2014. Go take a look.

  • Guest10987 says:

    Lets have everyone work to quitting time as usual and then all leave at the same time when an ice storm is hitting. Atlanta was just a fluke, wont happen here. No need to have police on the bridges directing traffic before the accidents. Lets just have everyone wait in traffic jams till the bridge really ices up for three hours and then try to cross it in the dark.

    Great planning!!

  • Guest2020 says:

    The police are not baby sitters. I am sure that with the storm they had other matters to attend to. And the official warning may not have come until after you were at work, but the meteorologists and been reporting for days that the storm was coming.

  • UghMan says:

    Ugh. Where is the personal responsibility in this town. Major ice storm, stay home. Do you need someone to tell you that?

  • Beach Bum says:

    I am not a cop, but if I was one, so what? Entitled to an opinion, even if it differs with yours.

    And since you blatantly admit you were NOT the driver, but the PASSENGER, just STFU, mind your business and thank your driver for getting you to and fro, safely.

    Maybe one day, when you actually become a licensed driver perhaps you will understand. Till then, keep thanking your mom for your rides.

    Get a dictionary for the bigger words if you’re struggling.

  • Guest291 says:

    You must be a police officer. I never stated anything about driving. You are correct though, I was in a car. However I was in the passenger seat. Poor reading comprehension skills.

  • Guest Reality says:

    Which one are you? Guest2238 or Guest291? Maybe both?

  • guest2238 says:

    i saw a police officer sitting in his car on eastwood road doing nothing as the nearby light at eastwood and military cutoff was out. explain that mr. evangelous

  • Jones says:

    Perhaps he was completing a report or maybe he had been ordered not to direct traffic. Your negative assumptions are not helpful.

  • guestme says:

    yeah, because we all know police never deserve breaks. They should spend every waking moment babysitting drivers who are too stupid to figure out that no light = 4 way stop. How dare this man or woman who dedicated their life to public service take a break and double bad if he actually got coffee and a donut.

  • Beach Bum says:

    So, instead of paying attention to the roadway and operating your vehicle with due regard for the safety of the public, your attention was focused on the police officer sitting in his cruiser?

    Perhaps his mere presence caused you to slow down, thus saving everyone else’s life, while you wantonly and willfully disregarded theirs.

    To the officer….thanks. Keep up the good work.

  • UghMan says:

    More excuses. Oh please someone take care of me…

  • Please says:

    Please, it was common knowledge by people who look out for themselves on Monday it was going to be trouble. I’m sure you can come up with a better excuse than that.

  • Guest10987 says:

    the warning was issued after everyone was at work on Tuesday. Most people didn’t realize that a winter storm warning had been announced until they got on the road to go home and heard it on the radio. Can’t stay home if you don’t know what you are staying home for.

  • tke1 says:

    As I said yesterday, just because WWAY isn’t aware of WPD’s plans, that doesn’t mean the plan doesn’t exist or is not in effect. During emergencies like this storm, department heads have more important things to do than to take time out from taking care of business to talk to a reporter who is going to write/say what they want to write/say anyway.
    While he/she is chatting with reporters it might be YOUR emergency that is being ignored thanks to the local press.

  • PublicAvenger says:

    On Wednesday, I saw several police officers, directing traffic at downed intersections, in the rain. Based on the news, there seemed to be little crime, during that period. Looks to me, like the WPD had everything under control. Maybe it’s not a good idea to blab all your plans to the public.

  • Malissa Talbert says:

    This is Malissa Talbert, Communications Manager for the City of Wilmington. To clarify a couple of points: the city had put salt/brine all the city-maintained primary roads and bridges Monday night before the ice started forming and then prepped those streets again Tuesday and Wed night. The city does not maintain major roadways such as most of 3rd Street or College Road. Extra crews had all the city’s primary roads cleared of storm debris by Thursday evening. In order to getting traffic flowing as soon as possible, storm debris was pushed to the side of roads so that it could be picked up later, which is now happening with extra crews and will continue for the next several days. There is an estimated 30,000-50,000 cubic tons of debris to pick up, so it will take time. We appreciate the patience and cooperation of our citizens while we work to get the debris picked up as quickly as possible.

  • Mary472 says:

    YOu people are crazy. Just because one lane closed, doesn’t mean street closed. If you are driving on it, it must be open. All streets cleared same day storm eased up is seems pretty good even if one lane here and there closed.

  • Malchjrc says:

    I was also surprised to see major intersections with cops parked a block away doing nothing. And there didn’t seem to be many crews out clearing debris either. And this really wasn’t much of a storm !

    It’s kind of offensive to hear our leaders offering lame excuses.

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