North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper has declared a State of Emergency, which will take effect at 8am Thursday, for the entire state in preparation for Hurricane Irma.
As of 5pm Wednesday, Irma was still a Category 5 storm and was located near the Virgin Islands and heading toward St Thomas, with maximum sustained winds still at 185mph. Governor Cooper joins the Governors of Florida, Georgia and South Carolina in declaring a state of emergency ahead of Irma's unknown US landfall.
The Governor noted that Irma is still five days or so away from North Carolina, but it's not too soon to get ready. He also noted that since the exact track is not known anywhere from the mountains to the coast could be impacted. He said the state is preparing and coordinating with FEMA, local partners and surrounding states to get ready. He is asking residents all across the state to to get ready, update emergency kit, stay informed on weather updates, and to visit ReadyNC.org for information. The Governor reiterated that, “There's a lot we don't know, but we do know that it's time for North Carolinians to get ready.”
Gov. Cooper said the State of Emergency will go into effect at 8 a.m. on Thursday, September 7 in order to facilitate the movement of any resources that may be needed to respond to the storm. It also waives truck weight, size and hours of service restrictions so that vehicles carrying essential supplies such as food, medicine, fuel or transporting livestock or crops can get their jobs done quickly.
“Our emergency response teams are seasoned and ready. They have been tested repeatedly over the past year and our colleagues are ready to respond as called,” Public Safety Secretary Erik Hooks said. “But we cannot weather this storm alone. This is a tremendous storm. We need residents and visitors to ensure they are ready: check your emergency plans, restock your emergency kits, and pay close attention in the coming days to the weather forecast.”
The state’s Emergency Management team began coordinating storm preparations over the Labor Day weekend with county partners, state agencies and South Carolina, Virginia and officials from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. They have requested a FEMA incident management team to expedite any federal assets that may be needed to respond to the storm.
State transportation officials also have placed crews on standby, been preparing their equipment and checking culverts to remove debris that may clog drainage pipes.
Graphics below are from NOAA and the National Weather Service as of 5pm Wednesday Sept 6 and show the possible forecast track and possible arrival time of Tropical storm force winds.