McCrory: NC prepared in case Matthew 'turns' - | WBTV Charlotte

McCrory: NC prepared in case Matthew 'turns'

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RALEIGH, NC (WBTV) -

Gov. Pat McCrory provided an update on Hurricane Matthew and the state's preparation Wednesday morning, saying, "we're ready if this thing turns."

McCrory said 66 counties in NC remain in a State of Emergency, which was issued mainly for farmers. McCrory said the farmers have taken advantage of the State of Emergency and are working quickly to get their crops up. 

"The rain and winds can still cause serious damage," McCrory emphasized. 

The state has resources in place, including the National Guard, Highway Patrol, Red Cross, Swift Water Rescue and supplies, "in case this thing turns," McCrory said. "We're in the staging process still."

Wednesday's models show Matthew is pushing farther offshore. 

“This morning we received some good news that Matthew’s track has moved slightly off shore, but we remain cautiously optimistic and are prepared to respond at a moment’s notice,” said Governor McCrory. “This is a large storm and its impacts could be felt well inland. It is still extremely important for residents in the eastern parts of the state to stay informed in case you need to evacuate and always follow the directions of your local emergency officials.”

"These models can change at a moment's notice," McCrory added. 

McCrory is still urging North Carolinians and visitors to monitor the storm and closely follow any evacuation orders from local authorities. Evacuations of Ocracoke Island started Wednesday morning for non-residents and other coastal areas may order evacuations depending on the track of the storm.

McCrory mentioned SC Gov. Nikki Haley, and said 'our prayers are with those in South Carolina.' Haley held a press conference earlier on South Carolina's preparation for Matthew.

RELATED: Haley updates coastal evacuations ahead of Matthew

The governor has also sent a letter to President Barack Obama requesting a federal disaster declaration in anticipation of damages in North Carolina caused by Hurricane Matthew.

“This declaration makes federal resources available to help local and state government agencies respond to the potential disaster and gives quick access to stockpiles of disaster supplies like bottled water and meals that FEMA has already staged at Fort Bragg,” explained Governor McCrory.

If approved, this aid will help cover the expense of establishing mass shelter and feeding locations, as well as search and rescue missions and other emergency protective measures. It also would clear the way for federal funding and additional resources to help homeowners, renters and business owners repair and rebuild damaged property and replace some personal items.

Wednesday, Matthew emerged off the NE coast of Cuba as a weakened, category 3 Hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 125 mph. The central pressure has not risen though and the weakening is likely due to the interaction with the high terrain of Cuba. Favorable conditions remain in place for Matthew to strengthen again - back to a Category 4 storm - as it moves northwestward away from Cuba and over the warm waters around the Bahamas later today.

RELATED: Promising trend, updated models continue to push Hurricane Matthew farther offshore

The National Hurricane Center track forecast shifted slightly east again overnight, and if this verifies, it would keep the center of the hurricane off the Carolinas coast avoiding a landfall. Even 20 miles offshore would make a significant improvement in the wind conditions in the low country, but gale force and damaging winds would remain a factor.  

Of course, torrential rain and flooding along with heavy surf and beach erosion concerns would remain.

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