Cooper: 'Best defense is good preparation' for Florence

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Gov. Roy Cooper has asked the president for a disaster declaration ahead of Hurricane Florence’s landfall. 

The now-Category 4 hurricane is forecast to come ashore along the North or South Carolina coast late Thursday into Friday. 

“North Carolina is no stranger to hurricanes. We are a resilient state. Storms and heavy wind and rain can affect the entire state,” Cooper said. 

Cooper arrived in Wilmington Monday afternoon and spoke with officials at the Emergency Operations Center at 3:30 p.m.

“I’ve asked for an emergency federal declaration, which would help speed up federal resources to us,” Cooper said. “I’ve also talked with FEMA administrator Brock Long, a native North Carolinian. He knows our state. We believe that our federal partners will be ready to help us when the time comes.” 

The governor previously declared a state of emergency ahead of Florence to help the flow of resources. 

“We have a couple of days to get ready. Use that time,” Cooper said. 

A FEMA administrator is in the state ahead of Florence. 

Cooper’s request for a federal disaster declaration is an effort to have more resources available across the state. 

Just before Cooper made his comments, Dare County issued a mandatory evacuation order for all visitors and residents of Hatteras starting at noon Monday and the rest of Dare County at 7 a.m. Tuesday.

Brunswick County issued a mandatory evacuation for residents in low-lying and flood-prone areas, or in mobile or substandard homes which takes effect 7 a.m. Tuesday.

A voluntary evacuation will be in effect for other residents.

New Hanover County Schools have canceled classes from Sept. 11-14 due to Florence. 

Duke Energy and other co-ops are monitoring the storm. 

State Emergency Management Director Mike Sprayberry said utility teams are ready to “surge in” after the storm passes. 

Despite preparations by power companies, Cooper said families need to be prepared to be without power for “awhile.”

Around 6,500 North Carolina National Guard soldiers and airmen are on standby for relief operations.