Gov. Cooper Urges NC Residents To Prepare For Potential Hurricane

Max Garcia, of Miami, waits in a line since dawn to purchase plywood sheets at The Home Depot store in North Miami, Fla., Wednesday, Sept. 6, 2017. Florida residents are preparing for the possible landfall of Hurricane Irma, the most powerful Atlantic Ocean hurricane in recorded history.
Credit Marta Lavandier / AP

Updated 4:15  p.m., September 7, 2017

Hurricane Irma is bearing down on Florida, and is expected to track north and into North Carolina sometime early Tuesday.

While current projections have the storm more likely to hit the western part of the state, Governor Roy Cooper is urging all areas to be ready.

"I want to continue to stress that this storm can impact any part of North Carolina," Cooper said. "All over our state, from the mountains to the coast."

Cooper on Wednesday declared a state of emergency. He also said emergency teams have been brought back from Texas and are rested and ready to deploy here.

He urged residents to prepare and stay vigilant throughout the weekend.

"Previous disasters have shown us that those who prepare are more likely to recover more quickly," he said.

The exact route Irma will take into and through North Carolina is not yet certain. Most computer models show it hitting the western part of the state late Monday and into Tuesday. Quick response teams are being deployed in Kinston, Greensboro, and Asheville.

Irma Barrels Through Caribbean Leaving Widespread Destruction

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.

The most potent Atlantic Ocean hurricane ever, Irma weakened only slightly Thursday morning and remained a powerful Category 5 storm with winds of 180 mph (285 kph), according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center.

North Carolina State Emergency Management Director Mike Sprayberry on Wednesday said the forecast is still uncertain, but he would rather prepare for the worst now that Irma is a Category 5 hurricane.

"That's incredibly powerful, and if it keeps tracking the way that it is, we could really be experiencing some heavy rainfall, some of those hard winds, strong winds, right here in North Carolina," Sprayberry said. "That's why I'm telling everybody to brace for the impact."

Coastal NC Cities Review Beach Nourishment Projects

Crews working on North Carolina's beach nourishment projects are reviewing contingency plans in case Hurricane Irma heads for the coast. 

Equipment is already being moved off of Outer Banks beaches, according to Dare County Spokeswoman Dorothy Hester.

"My understanding for the northern beach project - the sand that's being pumped in Kitty Hawk - is that they are going to remove the dredge and prepare for rough seas," Hester said.

There's less than a mile left on Kitty Hawk's beach nourishment project, which is scheduled to be finished next month. That could change depending on Irma's impact.

National Weather Service Meteorologist John Elardo said chances are good that North Carolina might feel the effects of the Hurricane early next week.

“If you live in an area along the coast that might be evacuated, you should know where your evacuation routes are and start thinking about where you're going to go, especially if you live along one of the barrier islands,” he said.

Elardo said it's a good idea for residents to make sure they have enough fuel, batteries and necessary medications. He also said coastal residents should be prepared for evacuation orders.

‘You should be thinking about and making plans in case you have to evacuate,” he said. “Not panicking, but preparing and continuing to monitor the forecast.”

Elardo says a lot can happen in five days, and Hurricane Irma could blow out to sea this weekend. But he, says, that doesn't look likely.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.