Cooper declares state of emergency ahead of Hurricane Irma

Source WBRC

"While we expect the greatest impacts in the mountains and along the SC border, all regions of North Carolina can expect to feel some wind and some rain", Cooper said at a news conference Saturday morning in Raleigh. That's due to evacuees from states to the south in the direct path of Irma. The Governor's Office will release a statement at 4:00 p.m. today (Friday).

When the governor initially declared a state of emergency for all 100 counties, Irma was headed directly toward the state.

The NHC said in its advisory a storm surge warning is in effect in southern Florida, for Juniper Inlet southward around the Florida peninsula to Bonita Beach and for the Florida Keys. The storm could also produce isolated tornadoes in the Carolinas early next week.

State Emergency Management officials are shifting staff from eastern areas to support the western parts of the state and working with hydrologists to identify possible trouble spots for flooding and landslides in mountain counties. Wyatt said the Mountain State Fair, which opens this weekend, could be affected by the storm. There remains an outside chance that Irma could move along a more easterly track.




Meanwhile, Hurricane Jose has also become a major hurricane, reaching Category 3 on the Saffir-Simpson hurricane scale, but the National Hurricane Center is forecasting a sharp turn to the northeast, turning it away from the Atlantic Coast and towards Bermuda.

Cooper added that statewide preparedness was "crucial", and said emergency management teams were continuing to take the "large and powerful storm seriously". "The forecasts are changing every hour it seems and residents need to be aware of where the storm is tracking". Its forecast to continue moving northwest, weakening to a tropical storm Monday into Tuesday, Sept. 12, over Georgia, then weakening further to a tropical depression by early Wednesday, Sept. 13, when it's expected to be over Tennessee. Higher rainfall amounts are possible in western North Carolina where three to six inches of rain will be possible. "At this point, it is too early to tell what, if any, effects may occur as a result of Hurricane Irma".

Individuals not in an evacuation zone are encouraged by the National Weather Service to prepare an emergency kit that includes a flashlight, batteries, non-perishable foods, water and first-aid supplies.

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