Published: Sun, September 10, 2017
World Media | By June Phelps

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

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

Earlier today, it seemed we would be spared (except, perhaps, the far western tip of the state) and, while the latest track also suggests we may be largely spared, the new model trajectories offer widely divergent possibilities for our state. "As always with any high impact weather event, our first priority is to protect life and ensure the safety of emergency personnel".

State and local officials certainly have been offering sage advice in urging people to remain vigilant to the potential threat posed by Hurricane Irma.

Some projections expect it to reach Georgia and SC as a Category 1 storm by early next week, which could severely impact parts of North Carolina with heavy rains. North Carolina Emergency Management will create two staging grounds for crews to respond to the storm - in Asheville, and in Greensboro.

"There is the potential for 3-5 inches of rain to fall in the area", said NWS meteorologist Shane Kearns, "over already saturated ground, which could result in some flash flooding".

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N.C. Gov. Roy Cooper said at a news conference Saturday morning that he is shifting emergency resources to the western part of the state but cautioned others to stay alert. The interstate is one of three North-South evacuations routes that pass through the state.

NOAA forecast for Hurricane Irma's track as of 11 a.m. Friday.

The NHC said in its advisory a storm surge warning is in effect in southern Florida, for Juniper Inlet southward around the Florida peninsula to Bonita Beach and for the Florida Keys. The eye of the storm was expected to head up the state's west coast, rather than the middle.

Hurricane Irma is still a monster storm that could be devastating to much of Florida this weekend. Then later, after moving over water, Irma is expected to come ashore around Cape Coral or Fort Myers.

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Cooper declared a state of emergency ahead of Hurricane Irma on Wednesday.The National Hurricane Center is calling Irma "potentially catastrophic". From there it is predicted to steam inland Sunday afternoon over the highly populated Tampa Bay region.

Regardless of its track, all of Florida will likely experience damaging winds, rains, flooding and possibly tornadoes.

"This is a deadly storm and our state has never seen anything like it", Scott said.

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