‘Disaster is at the doorstep’ and Hurricane Florence ‘may be a marathon,’ NC governor says

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N.C. Gov. Roy Cooper continues to stress that residents be prepared and not take Hurricane Florence lightly as it appears likely to impact the Carolinas in the days ahead.

“My message is clear: Disaster is at the doorstep and is coming in,” Cooper said during a Wednesday morning press conference. “This may be a marathon — not a sprint.”

Cooper encouraged people at the coast to leave now, while there is still time to do so safely.

“For those not under an evacuation order, finish your preparations today if you haven’t already,” he said. “Move to safety if your home is at risk – bring in supplies if it’s not. Plan to be without power for days.”

Weather experts have warned the Category 4 hurricane is expected bring extreme storm surge and wind, and prolonged rain that could cause inland flooding, The News & Observer reported.

In the press conference, Cooper noted the forecast calls for storm surge taller than many homes. He said to be prepared for days of rain.

“From the storm surge, alone, tens of thousands of structures are expected to be flooded in North Carolina,” Cooper said.

At least 16 shelters have opened since Tuesday for people who have been evacuated, the governor said. He said he placed nearly 3,000 N.C. National Guard soldiers on active duty to help provide safety and disaster relief after the storm.

Cooper said the coastal region should prepare for life-threatening storm surge and wind, the central part of the state can expect heavy rains and wind, and western North Carolina should be prepared for heavy rains and related issues, like mudslides.

“No matter where this storm comes ashore, it will have widespread, significant impacts in North Carolina,” he said. “Every county and every person in North Carolina needs to stay alert and take this storm seriously.”

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