Cooper: 'Get ready now' for hurricane

Posted September 10, 2018 11:41 a.m. EDT
Updated September 10, 2018 11:53 a.m. EDT

— Gov. Roy Cooper urged North Carolina residents on Monday to prepare for Hurricane Florence, which forecasters expect to hit the state's southern coast later this week.

"We here in North Carolina are bracing for a hard hit," Cooper said during a press conference outlining the state's preparations. "North Carolina is taking Hurricane Florence seriously, and you should too. Get ready now."

Florence was a Category 3 hurricane as of 11 a.m. Monday, with sustained winds of 115 mph. The storm was moving west at 13 mph, and forecast paths show it will likely made landfall near Wilmington on Thursday.

"When weather forecasters tell us [the hurricane could be] life-threatening, we know that it is serious," Cooper said.

Mike Sprayberry, director of the state Division of Emergency Management, said the storm could have statewide impacts, from storm surge and high winds along the coast to flooding inland.

Cooper has requested President Donald Trump to issue a disaster declaration for the state to relief can be delivered to affected areas as soon as possible after the storm passes.

"Our best defense is good preparation," he said, noting that the Departments of Public Safety and Transportation, the State Highway Patrol and the North Carolina National Guard are readying personnel and equipment to assist with evacuations and recovery. About 200 Guard members have been activated, and more can be activated as needed.

Other states are offering heavy equipment and swift-water rescue teams to help with recovery as well, he said.

North Carolina residents similarly need to make their own preparations by stocking up on water, non-perishable foods and batteries, getting medications and important documents in order and clearing debris from their yards, Cooper said. People also need to make sure their pets and elderly neighbors are taken care of.

"North Carolina is no stranger to hurricanes. We are a resilient state and resilient people," he said.