COOPER: Irma expected to bring rip currents to North Carolina's coast

Governor Cooper urged continued caution and preparedness despite Hurricane Irma's current path towards Tennessee

"We're continuing to take preparing for this storm seriously, and we're tracking forecasts closely", Cooper said.

North Carolina Emergency Management teams are hard at work preparing for the potential of Hurricane Irma hitting the state, including at the eastern branch headquarters at the Global TransPark in Kinston.

WBTV meteorologist Al Conklin wrote early Thursday that rain with increasing wind is expected to begin Monday. McDowell County Emergency Services Director William Kehler said his agency has been reviewing preparedness items, communicating with partner agencies, communicating with critical healthcare facilities and reviewing documentation from Hurricanes Frances and Ivan in 2004.

Cooper said unsafe surf and rip currents will continue on the coast and rain could bring flash flooding to some areas. Flash flooding throughout the state is possible.

There already is a state of emergency in effect.

The National Guard will post emergency crews in Greensboro, Asheville and Charlotte on Sunday, according to Cooper.

Gov. Cooper also encouraged North Carolinians to be mindful that some gas stations may experience temporary fuel shortages as evacuees from other states refuel here. Tim Little of NCDOT says they are also anxious for the potential of rock slides and mudslides in the mountainous areas of WNC.

Cooper said there is training in the coming days for more Red Cross volunteers.

Climatologists have always been predicting more active storm seasons due to climate change, and we have seen those forecasts come true.

Irma's track shifted late Friday and early Saturday. Slightly higher amounts are expected to the west of the city. Then later, after moving over water, Irma is expected to come ashore around Cape Coral or Fort Myers. But before the storm reaches the peninsula, the Florida Keys will experience its full force.

Hurricane Irma weakened to a Category 3 storm late Saturday morning as it continued to batter Cuba with sustained 125-mph winds, the National Hurricane Center said. Those staging grounds will be up and running Sunday afternoon.



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