RALEIGH-Governor Roy Cooper reminded North Carolinians to remain ready and aware as the state begins to feel rain and winds from Hurricane Irma. National Guard soldiers, Highway Patrol troopers and rescue teams are poised and ready to go if needed.
“We’re grateful that the brunt of the storm will miss us, but our entire state will see some impacts from Irma and especially Western North Carolina,” Governor Cooper said. “Things are looking better for North Carolina, but we’re not out of the woods yet and we don’t want any surprises.”
The National Guard has positioned soldiers and equipment in Greensboro, Charlotte and Asheville to support storm response activities such as cleanup, shelter operations and supply delivery, if necessary. This weekend emergency management teams and the Red Cross opened five shelters in Gaston, Guilford, Henderson, Johnston and Mecklenburg counties to help those evacuating from other states. These sites are located just off major interstates, and all accept pets. Citizens can visit ReadyNC.org or download the ReadyNC App to get exact shelter locations. People can also call 2-1-1 for more information.
The latest forecast calls for rain and wind and the possibility of isolated tornadoes across the state today and through Tuesday. However, the strongest impacts are likely to be felt in Western North Carolina that is expecting is to see three to four inches of rain and winds of 20 to 25 miles per hour.
This could lead to localized flash flooding, scattered power outages, and the potential for landslides. Wildfires in the mountains last year left some places more vulnerable to landslides. The wet weather could also cause rockslides through steep areas such as I-40 near the Tennessee border or I-26.
Meanwhile, Central North Carolina also will see rain and gusty winds, with more of both expected near the South Carolina border. Wind gusts could lead to sporadic power outages, especially near the border.
Eastern North Carolina will see rain and wind, with more wind along the Outer Banks. The southeastern beaches and along the Cape Fear River near Wilmington will continue to experience minor coastal flooding during high tides through tonight.
“Our thoughts are with those who have felt the direct impact of this storm, and North Carolina stands ready to provide support as needed,” said Gov. Cooper.
The North Carolina National Guard has already provided assistance, evacuating a nursing home in the Florida Keys prior to Irma’s landfall there and delivering equipment and personnel to the U.S. Virgin Islands after it took a direct hit from the storm.
The Governor continues to encourage people to support Hurricane Irma relief efforts through reputable relief organizations. Visit nvoad.org for a list of Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster.