North Carolina prepares for Hurricane Irma

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Although the projected path of Irma, now a Category 5 storm with winds at 180 miles per hour, is not yet confirmed to severely impact North Carolina, Gov. Roy Cooper has declared a state of emergency, effective at 8 a.m. Thursday, to prepare for the storm.

Cooper on Wednesday declared a state of emergency.

Governor Cooper says the state is shifting emergency management staff to the western areas of North Carolina due to the projected path of Irma. Quick response teams are being deployed in Kinston, Greensboro, and Asheville.

"Make sure you are ready for whatever Irma brings", Cooper said.

Irma comes less than one year after Hurricane Mathew left behind devastation in several North Carolina towns, and many people are still displaced as a reslt of that storm. With the potential for downed power lines, Dominion Energy customers are urged to make preparations for possible power outages, she said.

Fearsome Hurricane Irma cut a path of devastation across the northern Caribbean, leaving at least 10 dead and thousands homeless after destroying buildings and uprooting trees on a track Thursday that could lead to a catastrophic strike on Florida. "Wherever you live in North Carolina - from the mountains to the Piedmont to the coast - you need to take this storm seriously, and you need to start preparing for some type of impact".

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The state department of transportation is warning of increased traffic on interstates in North Carolina, particularly those that run south to north.

According to Kehler, tropical systems can post multiple hazards for McDowell, including flash flooding, landslides and wind damage.

"This is a tremendous storm", Hooks said. "On Tuesday we accomplished a number of preparedness objectives such as checking emergency generators, communicating with critical healthcare facilities, and creating staffing plans for EMS and 911 Communications".

Reid Hawkins is the science officer at the National Weather Service in Wilmington.

During a hurricane, remain in a secure, indoor area, and rely on weather services and local government to stay informed.

The storm weakened to a Category 3 hurricane Saturday morning, but is expected to strengthen again before making landfall in Florida, forecasters said.