North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper on Tuesday urged residents to take the threat of Hurricane Dorian seriously.
The storm continued to inch away from Grand Bahama on Tuesday afternoon. Meteorologists say Dorian will move “nearly parallel to but off the coast of Florida." Predictions show the Category 2 storm will continue along the coastal lines of Georgia, North and South Carolina. A hurricane warning was issued in the state Tuesday.
“The threat of significant damage is real,” Cooper said at a press conference. “This storm is strong, and it’s relentless. We must be ready.”
Cooper signed an executive order earlier Tuesday that called for more mandatory evacuations.
Shelters are scheduled to start opening Tuesday evening. He warned residents to act before the storm comes to ensure their safety.
The governor signed the evacuation order for the barrier islands located along the state’s coast from the Virginia line to the South Carolina line. Residents of the barrier islands have until 8 a.m. Wednesday to leave. Residents in Hyde County, which is also located on the state’s coast, have to leave as well.
Cooper advised North Carolinas both inside and outside of the evacuation zone to gather hurricane supplies and have a backup evacuation plan.
Residents should have enough water and non-perishable food for each family member for three to seven days. Pet owners should also gather supplies for pets and be ready to evacuate with them.
The state is at a level one State of Emergency, which means there is a full-scale emergency operation active.
A response team has mobilized to help in the event of a crisis situation. The team includes 300 North Carolina National Guard members, State Police officers and other state and federal partners.
“We know that rain, storm surge and winds will all be a significant threat in this event, particularly east of I-95, with the greatest hazards being along our coastline,” Mike Sprayberry, director of the North Carolina Emergency Management, said.
Sprayberry said the strongest impacts will be felt Thursday and Friday, but they may start as early as Wednesday.
All response teams will be in place prior to storm’s landfall, he added. Utility personnel and the Federal Emergency Management Agency are also on standby.
“Do not try to ride it out. You are putting your life at risk, and you are also putting at risk the lives of first responders who have to come rescue you,” Cooper said.