Gov. Roy Cooper urged the state to prepare for power outages, flooding and landslides that will come with a major storm.
North Carolina is “in the bullseye of Hurricane Florence,” Cooper said at a press briefing Monday. Cooper said he asked President Donald Trump for a disaster declaration Monday.
Hurricane Florence was raised to Category 4 Monday as it approaches the Carolinas coast.
Evacuations have begun in Dare County, and targeted evacuations along the Neuse, Tar, and Lumber rivers have been considered, said Emergency Management Director Mike Sprayberry.
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The state is preparing, Cooper said, and residents should too. “Now is the time to review emergency plans, not later,” he said.
He advised figuring out evacuation routes, clearing yards of debris that will cause damage in high winds, and making plans to contact family and friends, particularly elderly people.
“We here in North Carolina are bracing for a hard hit,” Cooper said.
Two hundred North Carolina National Guard troops have been activated, Cooper said, and more are prepared to be called. Other states are prepared to help North Carolina with heavy equipment, helicopters, and swift water rescue teams.
Duke Energy spokesman Jeff Brooks said the company is moving crews from Florida and the Midwest to staging areas near the storm path in the Carolinas.
Customers should make plans for a “multi-day outage event,” Brooks said. “Given the potential for flooding and high winds, we expect significant damage across our system from this storm.”