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Hurricane Dorian is on a path that will bring it toward the coastal areas of the Carolinas.
One person in North Carolina is confirmed to have died while preparing for the storm. Authorities say the victim is an 85-year-old man in Columbus County who fell from a ladder as he was getting his home ready for the impending severe weather.
The death comes as many parts of the North and South Carolina coasts are under mandatory evacuations, and school systems and local governments are preparing to shut down as the storm nears the Carolinas tonight.
At a news conference Wednesday, Gov. Roy Cooper told coastal residents now is the time to evacuate.
“If you’re in an area where an evacuation order has been ordered, leave now,” Cooper said. “Follow the directions of your local officials. Don’t try to ride it out. It’s not worth putting your life at risk or endangering first responders who might have to save you.”
Steven Rowley is a National Weather Service forecaster in Charleston, South Carolina. He said Wednesday morning that the storm is not expected to make landfall.
“But it’s going to be very, very close during the day on Thursday,” Rowley told WFAE. “It’s going to come very close to the South Carolina coast, particularly Charleston County. And then it’s going to continue to skirt very, very close to Cape Fear, Cape Lookout, Cape Hatteras, North Carolina.
Dorian will likely bring tropical storm force winds and up to 10 inches of rain in coastal areas. Rowley says storm surge and flooding are the biggest threats.
The Charlotte region will likely see little to no impact from Dorian. The White House said last night President Trump approved an emergency declaration for North Carolina.
Cooper issued an evacuation order for all barrier islands starting at 8 a.m. Wednesday.
Evacuations along the South Carolina and Georgia coasts began Monday.
[Related: Be Prepared For Hurricane Dorian]
Cooper also said he activated nearly 400 members of the North Carolina National Guard and that hundreds of Highway Patrol troopers were monitoring major roadways throughout the state.
Many evacuees are expected to come to the Charlotte area. Charlotte Motor Speedway says it’s opening its Rock City Campground and bathroom facilities to evacuees free of charge.