CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Governor Roy Cooper warned residents of North Carolina that the time to prepare for Hurricane Florence is almost over during two press conferences Wednesday.
“If you’ve been asked to evacuate, don’t wait. Leave now. You put your life at risk by staying,” Cooper said during his 5 p.m. conference. "Three quarters of a million to one million North Carolinians have been asked to evacuated.”
Gov. Cooper called the next few days a miracle and not a sprint.
“We are on the wrong side of this storm, where most of the damage is done,” the governor said. "Plan to be without power for days. check on your family and neighbors to make sure they are prepared as well.”
“The storm surge alone is likely to flood tens of thousands of structures. A storm doesn’t have to make landfall in north Carolina to do serious damage here,” Cooper continued. “At least 50 shelters are open now across the state.”
Cooper said the 211 number is available 24 hours a day for people in need of assistance. He also urged people looking to volunteer to do so through established non-profits and faith-based groups.
Both North and South Carolina have declared a State of Emergency. Hurricane Warnings are also in effect for the entire NC coast and portions of the SC coastline. Millions of people are being evacuated inland, and many schools and businesses are closing ahead of the storm.
With the slightly slower and southward track of Florence, we have now issued a First Alert Day for Monday in addition to Saturday and Sunday. The trends as of Wednesday afternoon are indicating that the worst conditions in terms of heaviest rain and the tornado threat may be Sunday into Monday for the WBTV viewing area.
A First Alert Day will remain in effect for Saturday as well as damaging wind gusts of 30-40mph (isolated to 50mph) will begin to develop. However, the heaviest and most widespread rain likely holds off until the second half of the weekend, perhaps into early next week.
*STAY ALERT: You can receive hurricane updates delivered to you with the free WBTV First Alert Weather app. You can choose which alerts you’d like to receive, including severe weather warnings for your home location plus anywhere you have property or family. Download the app here.