McCrory warns of more North Carolina flooding

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -- The Latest on the recovery from Hurricane Matthew in North Carolina (all times local):
 
 12:10p.m.
 
North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory warns that parts of the state are about to face flooding left by Hurricane Matthew.
 
McCrory said in a news conference in Raleigh on Tuesday that flooding is expected to create big problems for the rest of this week in Greenville, Rocky Mount and Goldsboro.
 
McCrory said crews have rescued more than 2,000 people in more than 600 rescue operations already. He said most of those have been in Cumberland and Robeson counties.
 
More than 1,000 National Guardsmen are assisting state and local law enforcement and emergency responders.
 
All ferries have returned to normal operations. But he said North Carolina Highway 12 is closed at the Bonner Bridge. The storm caused some damage in the equipment being used in the construction of the replacement bridge.
 
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11:10 a.m.
 
Robeson County officials say they've found the body of a man who was in a car that was washed away in the flooding that followed Hurricane Matthew.
 
Emergency Management Director Stephanie Chavis said the man's body was found late Monday afternoon after an extensive search.
 
The man's name has not been released.
 
The death brings to 15 the number reported during the storm. All but one of the deaths so far have involved motor vehicles.
 
Chavis says officials have been working to contact people thought to be missing that are just not getting phone calls because of power outages.
 
She says she's not sure what searchers will find once the flooding is over.
 
Chavis says state it's hard to get help to everyone quickly because of flooded roads.
 
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9 a.m. press conference on storm impact in North Carolina:
 
 
 
7:50 a.m.
 
Transportation officials in North Carolina say problems continue in the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew.
 
The Transportation Department said Tuesday morning that problems were being reported across central and eastern North Carolina because of flooding and debris.
 
Interstate 95 is closed in several locations because of flooding. Major closures are reported on a 15-mile stretch from Dunn to Fayetteville and an 18-mile stretch from St. Pauls to south of Lumberton.
 
On Interstate 40, a seven-mile stretch is closed from Near Newton Grove and Benson. 
 
A number of other major roads are also closed because of flooding.
 
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7 a.m.
 
Moore County officials say a dam that's been in danger of a breech is holding, so far.
 
Deputy Public Safety Director Scott Brooks said that crews worked until about 2 a.m. Tuesday to get sandbags in place to reduce the threat at  Woodlake Dam near Vass. Brooks said crews would be out again later Tuesday morning to finish. He says the work will need to be inspected before residents can return home.
 
Brooks says he doesn't know how quickly that inspection can occur. He says the evacuation ordered late Monday is the second in the last three days.
 
The National Weather Service has issued a flash flood warning for the area in Moore County, as well as Hoke and Cumberland counties because of the danger a dam failure would pose.
 
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3:50 p.m.
 
A Duke Energy official says work crews were stationed to handle the damages from Hurricane Matthew, "but the punch was bigger" and they had to double the number of workers to deal with outages.
 
Storm Director Bobby Simpson said Monday that the utility had resources in place and workers staged and lined up with what they expected to happen last weekend. But he said the storm's wrath exceeded expectations and led Duke to more than double the number of resources needed to handle the restoration of power. Now, Simpson said, more than 7,000 people are working to restore power and more are on the way.
 
Simpson said that as of Monday afternoon, about 430,000 customers were without power, down from a high of about 1.2 million at the height of Matthew. Of those, about 300,000 customers are in North Carolina and around 100,000 were in South Carolina.
 
 
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   2:30 p.m.
 
Only hours after announcing classes were set to resume, the University of North Carolina at Wilmington is telling students they will have to wait a little longer before they can return to campus.
 
The school announced Monday that it has canceled classes for Tuesday.
 
Most campus dining locations and the library will be operational on Tuesday for those students who have returned to campus. The school said information regarding the reopening of the student recreation center will be shared when available.
 
Officials said employees should report to work as planned on Tuesday. Those employees who think they'll have trouble getting to work should refer to the school's adverse weather policy and contact their supervisors.
 
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   2:10 p.m.
 
   Administrators at East Carolina University have announced that classes have been canceled for the rest of the week in anticipation of flooding in Greenville, Pitt County and eastern North Carolina.
 
   The school announced Monday that students should not return to campus and Greenville until further notice. They say many roads are impassible and others are expected to close. 
 
   ECU is advising employees to check with their managers regarding schedules and alternate work locations.
 
   Also, the school announced that Thursday night's football game between the Pirates and the U.S. Naval Academy has been postponed until Nov. 19.
 
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1:50 p.m.
 
The ferry division of the N.C. Department of Transportation has received conditional approval from the U.S. Coast Guard to resume service to and from Ocracoke Island for first responders only. 
 
Service was suspended due to hazardous conditions caused by Hurricane Matthew.
 
Monday's schedule includes four runs between Cedar Island and Ocracoke. There was another run between Swan Quarter and Ocracoke on.
 
Crews are currently conducting test runs on the Hatteras Inlet route to Ocracoke.
 
Full passenger operations remain suspended until the ferry division receives clearance from the Coast Guard. Once approved, service will resume under the guidelines of Hyde County's re-entry protocols.
 
 
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1:20 p.m.
 
Two North Carolina colleges will be closed for a week, while another will resume classes this week in the wake of Hurricane Matthew.
 
The Fayetteville Observer reported Methodist University announced Monday that classes were canceled until Oct. 17. No other details were available.
 
The University of North Carolina at Pembroke has suspended all classes and campus activities effective immediately and continuing through Wednesday. A statement on the school's web page says emergency shelter, food and water will be provided to students who are unable to leave the campus. The school's fall break starts Thursday.
 
In Wilmington, officials at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington say students will be permitted to return to their residence halls on Monday. Classes are scheduled to resume on Tuesday, when the campus will also be reopened for employees. 
 
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12:05 p.m.
 
The restoration of power after Hurricane Matthew pounded North Carolina is improving.
 
North Carolina Emergency Management said late Monday morning that about 465,000 customers are still without service.
 
That's down from about 491,000 earlier Monday.
 
Duke Energy still has the most customers without service at just over 300,000 customers.
 
Gov. Pat McCrory warned earlier Monday that the situation could worsen because of the on-going flooding in the eastern part of the state. Flood conditions are expected to worsen in some parts of North Carolina at least through Friday.
 
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11:40 a.m.
 
Two people thought to be missing in Cumberland County after Hurricane Matthew pounded the state with heavy wind and rain have been found.
 
Cumberland County officials said late Monday morning that two people thought to be missing in the storm have been contacted.
 
Officials say two people are still missing after the storm.
 
Fayetteville police have now filed missing person reports on two people. Police say 43-year-old Boris Abbey was last seen late Saturday afternoon. Forty-five-year-old Christy Woods was last seen Sunday afternoon.
 
Gov. Pat McCrory said Monday that one person is also missing in Johnston County.
 

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Governor Pat McCrory detailed the ongoing life-threatening dangers caused by Hurricane Matthew as record flooding continues to impact inland communities. The governor said that more than 1,400 people have been saved by swift water rescue teams and many more are expected throughout the day.

“Blue skies have returned to North Carolina, but dangerous conditions remain,” said Governor McCrory. “As we have learned from previous hurricanes, the aftermath of the storm is often the deadliest. People who live near rivers, streams and levees must take extreme caution as the greatest threat to human life is rivers flooding in the coming days. Listen to your local officials and take all evacuation orders seriously.” 

Floodwaters rapidly rose overnight in Lumberton, stranding nearly 1,500 residents. Helicopters, boats and swift water rescue teams were deployed to the area to get people to safety, including teams from FEMA and other states. 

The Federal Aviation Administration issued a temporary flight restriction over the Lumberton area, so that all aviation activity can focus on the rescues. Drones are prohibited in flooded areas because of their potential to obstruct rescue operations.

More than 600 North Carolina National Guard troops and nearly 200 high water and rescue vehicles have been activated. The U.S. Coast Guard continues to assist with rescues. The National Guard, State Highway Patrol and U.S. Coast Guard have increased aviation assets and completed more than 26 air rescues. 

The greatest threat remains inland flooding that will continue into this week in central and eastern North Carolina. Residents near rivers, streams and levees need to be extremely careful as flooding is expected throughout the coming week.

Central and eastern North Carolina have major additional flooding predicted for towns and cities along the: Lumber, Cape Fear, Neuse, and Tar rivers, along with many other rivers and creeks. State officials are monitoring a number of overtopped or breaching dams in central and eastern counties.

There have been 10 confirmed weather-related fatalities and five people reported missing. The most recent fatality occurred around 8 p.m. Sunday night in Johnston County when a driver drove into floodwaters. 

Governor McCrory warned motorists never to drive through standing water on roads and highways, and not to drive through temporary barriers or barricades.

“I cannot emphasize this enough, if you see a flooded road, turn around, do not drive through it,” said Govenror McCrory. "Not only are you making this life-threatening decision for yourself, you are making it for rescue personnel who will be called upon to save your life.”

Numerous major interstates and roads, as well as hundreds of secondary roads remain closed. Among the major roads that are impacted include:

  • Parts of I-95 closed in multiple locations due to flooding… from Four Oaks south through Fayetteville and Lumberton
  • I-40 in several locations in Johnston County in and around Benson as well as in both directions near Exit 355 in Sampson County
  • Parts of US-70 in both directions in Wayne and Lenior Counties (east and west of Goldsboro)
  • Parts of NC Highway 12 in Dare County remain impassable due to sand and high water on the roadway.

The latest updates on road closures can be found at ReadyNC.org, the ReadyNC mobile app or by calling 5-1-1.

The rains also filled many lakes and ponds to the brim. State and local officials responded to about 11 reports Saturday of dams overtopping. The National Weather Service is forecasting major river flooding across eastern North Carolina through early to mid-week, with potential record levels along the Neuse River. The rainfall and high winds led to many power outages across the state.

Power outages across the state continue to fall. As of 10:30 a.m., power outages totaled more than 465,000 statewide, down from more than 800,000 on Sunday. Utilities are continuing to work around the clock to respond to power outages in affected areas.

More than 60 emergency shelters remain open in central and eastern North Carolina and are currently housing more than 2,800 people. For those needing information, including nearby shelter, housing, and other storm-related details, call 2-1-1. 

The American Red Cross is in desperate need for volunteers. They have opened a volunteer intake center in Fayetteville at the Kiwanis Recreation Center at 352 Devers Street.

Local officials have issued several mandatory evacuations in:

  • Kinston—mandatory evacuation for all residents in Neuse River Basin
  • Greenville—began a mandatory evacuation on Sunday
  • Dare County—imposed curfew on Sunday and only property owners and vehicles allowed in
  • Halifax County—imposed curfew on Sunday
  • Princeville—mandatory evacuation due to potential flooding and 7 p.m. curfew set on Sunday

The governor warned of the continued environmental dangers of the standing floodwaters, and asked residents in affected areas not to cross through or swim through flooded waters. This is especially crucial in areas where floodwaters have crossed agricultural areas, which have been hit particularly hard by this storm. Those in affected farmlands who require assistance can call the Agriculture Disaster Hotline at 1-866-645-9403.

Governor McCrory emphasized that the state is better prepared than ever to handle the financial implications of the storm. Under the governor’s leadership, North Carolina has tripled the balance in the state’s Rainy Day Fund to an all-time-high balance of $1.6 billion. The governor mentioned that additional federal financial assistance is also expected. 

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11:50 a.m.
 
The National Guard has deployed 11 troops to Brunswick County, where emergency officials say storm surge, flooding, and debris are all problems caused by Hurricane Matthew. 
 
The Daily News of Jacksonville reports (http://bit.ly/2dIHAR5) troops are staging in Bolivia, Calabash and Leland, along with high-water clearance vehicles placed at each location. 
 
The N.C. State Highway Patrol has also sent more troopers, with two squads from Greensboro supplementing the county's forces.
 
Reports of flooding along U.S. 17 between U.S. 211 and Shallotte came in shortly after a briefing with county emergency services ended Saturday morning. 
 
Sunset Beach officials planned to close their bridge Saturday afternoon. In St. James, the town staff reported that water threatened the Polly Gully Bridge. Officials say that if it closes, about 1,000 people will be stranded.
 
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9:50 a.m. 
 
Gov. Pat McCrory is warning North Carolina residents that even though Hurricane Matthew's winds have been downgraded, the storm is still a danger because of flooding and storm surge. 
 
At a news conference Saturday, McCrory said he's especially concerned about inland flooding along rivers in areas that are already saturated. For example, he said 17 inches of rain fell in Windsor in Bertie County just two weeks ago. 
 
He says Hurricane Matthew could cause the worst flooding in North Carolina since Hurricane Floyd in 1999, which dumped 19 inches of rain in Wilmington and destroyed the town of Princeville.
 
He warned that the storm's effects will be prolonged and not end once the hurricane goes back out into the Atlantic Ocean. He says forecasts call for 10 inches to 15 inches of rain in southeastern North Carolina. 
 
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9 a.m. 
 
Shelters are opening as Hurricane Matthew brings heavy rain to North Carolina. 
 
Shelters are opening Saturday in several counties, including Onslow, Carteret and Wayne. Both Onslow and Carteret have shelters that allow pets.  Shelters opened Friday in Brunswick, New Hanover and Pender counties, and each county has a shelter that allows pets. 
 
People seeking shelter are reminded to bring their medications and if possible, blankets and pillows. If you need to evacuate and don't have transportation to the shelter or you need other assistance, call the Emergency Operations Center at 919-705-6599. 
 
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8:45 a.m. 
 
The state is running its last ferry from Ocracoke to Hatteras until Hurricane Matthew passes. 
 
The state Transportation Department said in a news release that the last ferry on that route was schedule to leave Ocracoke at 8 a.m. Saturday. 
 
So far, state ferries have evacuated more than 1,300 people from Ocracoke on its Hatteras, Cedar Island, and Swan Quarter routes.
 
Ferry Division managers says they'll monitor weather conditions and resume service as soon as conditions allow. 
 
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Gov. Pat McCrory is warning residents of the potential for "life-threatening" rain and standing water from Hurricane Matthew.
 
McCrory told a briefing on Friday that Wilmington and other coastal areas could see 15 inches or more of rain by Sunday afternoon. He also said the state could see the worst flooding since Hurricane Floyd in 1999.

“What we feared is now happening in North Carolina,” said Governor McCrory. “The immediate concern from Hurricane Matthew is life threatening rain accumulation that has the potential for North Carolina to see the worst flooding since Hurricane Floyd in 1999. Our resources are in place and we are ready to respond. Be prepared, be careful and be safe.”

Forecasts show Hurricane Matthew will have the greatest impact in North Carolina starting early Saturday morning with heavy rainfall, storm surge and winds across eastern and central portions of the state.

As much as 15 inches of rainfall are expected in areas of southeastern North Carolina near Wilmington. Rainfall totals for southeastern inland locations around the I-95 Corridor could see up to 10 inches of rain. Governor McCrory stated that this is especially concerning for the Fayetteville region, which recently experienced severe flooding. Northeastern sections of the state could see 5 to 10 inches of rain further exacerbating recent flooding in Bertie County and surrounding areas.

The strongest winds are expected beginning Saturday through Sunday afternoon, with sustained winds across southeastern North Carolina of 50 to 60 miles per hour and gusts close to the coast up to 85 miles per hour. Governor McCrory warned that winds coupled with wet ground will result in widespread downed trees and power outages.

Storm surge south of the Cape Fear area is forecast to be between 4 and 6 feet, and from Cape Fear to Salvo is expected to be between 2 and 4 feet. Officials say Matthew will also bring with it significant beach erosion and overwash in coastal communities.

A Hurricane Watch has been declared from Surf City to Cape Lookout, and Tropical Storm Warnings are in effect from Surf City to Duck, including Pamlico and Albemarle sounds.

Mandatory evacuations have been issued for visitors to Ocracoke. Voluntary evacuations have been issued in:

  • Pender County’s low-lying areas, including Topsail beach and Surf City
  • Cumberland County’s low-lying and flood-prone areas
  • Brunswick County towns of Bald Head Island, Caswell Beach, Oak Island, Holden Beach, Ocean Isle, Sunset Beach, Boiling Springs Lakes, Calabash, Carolina Shores, Shallotte, Southport and Saint James
  • Ocracoke for residents
  • All New Hanover County beaches, and areas around New Centre Drive, Racine Drive and Edgewater Club Road.

Emergency shelters have opened in the following areas:

  • Brunswick County - North Brunswick High School, South Brunswick High School and West Brunswick High School
  • Bertie County also opened the Bertie County High School as a shelter
  • Columbus County officials have opened shelters at West Columbus High School, South Columbus High School, East Columbus High School and Edgewood Elementary School

Shelters are on standby to open if necessary in Onslow, Wilson, Johnston and Lee counties. Other county officials are considering opening shelters.

Governor McCrory’s request for a disaster declaration by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) was accepted today for 66 North Carolina counties where the storm is forecast to have the greatest impacts. The declaration expedites federal assistance for emergency protective measures.

The governor on Friday urged caution along the Outer Banks as state transportation officials are expecting the storm to impact N.C. Hwy 12 on the north end of Ocracoke Island and Hatteras. N.C. Department of Transportation officials have staged equipment at those locations as well as Buxton, Pea Island and Kitty Hawk.

The state’s Ferry Division has already suspended operations between Ocracoke Island and the mainland and anticipates suspending operations on the Ocracoke-Hatteras route Saturday morning.

All state parks east of I-95 are now closed and will remain so until at least Sunday, the governor said.

Governor McCrory emphasized that state emergency response officials are prepared to respond. The State Highway Patrol has placed all essential personnel on standby and is ready for deployment at a moment’s notice based on the storm’s track. Additional state troopers have been sent to Wilmington and Raleigh and additional troopers are on call across the state. The North Carolina National Guard has deployed nearly 180 troops and 68 high water vehicles.

Swift Water Rescue teams have been deployed to Bladen, Craven, Martin, Brunswick, Pamlico, Camden and Pasquotank counties.

Additionally, three Helo-Aquatic Rescue Teams are staged in western North Carolina. Chainsaw crews are now in Jones, Camden, Pasquotank, and Moore counties and at regional coordination centers. North Carolina Wildlife boat teams have deployed to Williamston, New Bern and Elizabethtown. Generators, sandbags, cots, bottled water and tarps have been sent to eastern counties and generators sent to central counties.

Governor McCrory said North Carolina has also deployed resources to help neighboring states to the south. North Carolina has sent two Swift Water Rescue teams and one Helo-Aquatic Rescue Team to South Carolina. At the request of Florida Governor Rick Scott, North Carolina has also deployed a mobile disaster hospital, as well as medical evacuation buses and teams to assist with relief efforts.

Governor Pat McCrory has declared a State of Emergency for all 100 counties in order to provide the necessary assistance to eastern North Carolina and surrounding states as Hurricane Matthew approaches.

The storm has shifted slightly northward and is now expected to bring heavier bands of wind and rain further north Saturday as it approaches North Carolina. 

The governor said state emergency crews are ready to respond quickly. Swift water rescue teams and North Carolina National Guard resources are already staged in the areas of eastern North Carolina where they will likely be needed the most: Williamston, New Bern, Elizabethtown, Laurinburg and Sanford. High water vehicles are staged in New Hanover and Brunswick counties and other high water vehicles are being held as reserves in case they are needed. Three Helo-Aquatic Rescue Teams are also being activated for deployment this weekend across North Carolina.

Impacts from the storm are expected to be greatest between early Saturday into Sunday morning. During the next three days, the storm is predicted to dump as much as 15 inches of rain on southeastern North Carolina and between 5 and 10 inches of rain in eastern North Carolina, and 2-5 inches in central parts of the state. 

"Today I am encouraging local officials to make calls for evacuation very quickly and am asking all citizens and visitors to follow those directions and take this storm seriously," said Governor McCrory. 

The storm is expected to pack sustained winds of 40-55 mph in southeastern North Carolina with gusts up to 70 mph, and sustained winds of between 20 mph and 45 mph in other areas of eastern North Carolina. The governor said heavy rain and winds from the storm could knock down trees, create significant flooding and heavy storm surge in coastal areas, and bring widespread power outages. 

The governor said he has spoken with South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley and Florida Governor Rick Scott and is assessing what support can be offered to assist their states. North Carolina is sending a Helo-Aquatic rescue technician and UH60 crews to South Carolina and is assessing what support can be sent to Florida.

RELATED: The Latest: Police use bullhorn to tell people to leave
 
The governor previously declared a state of emergency on Monday for 66 eastern and central counties.

Governor McCrory and NC State Emergency Management provided an update on the sate's preparation for Hurricane Matthew Thursday morning and afternoon.

McCrory said we are not going to get hit by the eye of the storm unless there is a major change.

“I am cautiously optimistic about Hurricane Matthew’s projected impacts on North Carolina compared to where we were a few days ago,” said Governor McCrory. “But there remains much uncertainty about the long-term storm track. Even if Matthew doesn’t make landfall in our state, this is a very large and powerful storm and we expect its impacts to be felt far away from the eye.” 

Current forecasts call for winds of 60-70 miles per hour, with some higher gusts possible, along the southeast coast beginning sometime late Saturday morning. The Piedmont and northern Coastal Plain will see breezy conditions with gusts to 35 miles per hour.

Heavy rainfall of eight to 10 inches is expected in southeastern counties with one to three inches of rain expected along the I-95 corridor. The northeastern counties can expect to see one to two inches of rain offering them a potential respite from the recent heavy flooding.

“We’re not out of the woods yet,” McCrory said. “I can’t emphasize enough how important it is for all North Carolinians and visitors to be sure they are prepared and continue to monitor this storm. Review your emergency plans with your family and update or restock supplies in your emergency kits”

"Be safe, be prepared and we will continue to give updates," McCrory said.

McCrory is urging North Carolinians throughout the central and eastern part of the state to gather emergency supplies and discuss emergency plans to prepare for Hurricane Matthew.

The latest forecast calls for the expansion of Hurricane Matthew further up the southeast along the Atlantic seacoast from Florida into Georgia before making landfall near the North and South Carolina border early Saturday morning.

RELATED: The Latest: Matthew stronger, hurricane warning area expands

The Latest: Obama cancels events in Florida as storm nears

“With each subsequent forecast, the impacts to our state appear to be more substantial,” cautioned Governor McCrory in a written statement, released on Tuesday. “I cannot stress enough how critical it is that all of our residents in central and eastern North Carolina begin preparations for their families and homes. For those residents in the eastern parts of the state, it is especially critical that you update your emergency supply kits in case you need to evacuate and always follow the directions of your local emergency officials.”

RELATED: Gov. McCrory declares a state of emergency for 66 counties

Currently a Category 4 hurricane, Matthew made landfall along eastern Cuba Tuesday morning and is predicted to move northwest through the Bahamas and along Florida’s Atlantic coast during the next few days. From there, the large and powerful storm is expected to shift toward the northeast, hugging the Georgia and South Carolina coast before making landfall in North Carolina sometime Saturday.

While the storm is a still a few days away, the major hurricane continues to shift westward, increasing the potential for significant impacts to the state. Emergency officials are preparing for 4 to 8 more inches of rain over the weekend across eastern and central North Carolina along with heavy winds of up to 73 miles per hour beginning Friday.


On Monday, Governor McCrory declared a State of Emergency for 66 eastern and central North Carolina counties to expedite the movement and activation of any resources to help with storm response. He also waived restrictions for truckers on hours of service and weight limits to help farmers harvest their crops, quickly restore power and expedite any debris removal.

The North Carolina Emergency Operations Center (EOC) activated on Monday with staffing support from key state agencies as well as the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The EOC will begin 24-hour operations Thursday morning with additional personnel. State emergency managers and FEMA representatives are coordinating with North Carolina counties and neighboring states on sheltering and evacuation plans should they be needed.  

The North Carolina State Highway Patrol is also preparing its troopers and equipment. Troopers will be monitoring all major highways and will be assisting the Department of Transportation, county Emergency Management officials and local partners.

Additionally, the Department of Transportation continues to monitor conditions and prepare equipment and crews to respond to Hurricane Matthew. The Department is pre-positioning equipment and personnel along the coast and preparing ferry operations to expedite the transportation of residents and visitors off Ocracoke Island and the Outer Banks.

Governor McCrory urges residents to take the following steps to prepare for the storm:

1. Determine if you are in a storm surge zone:
Residents living in storm surge zones may be ordered to evacuate. Evacuation zones will be identified by local emergency managers through the news media. You also should know if your home is located in a flood plain. These areas suffer from heavy rains associated with hurricanes. Visit ncfloodmaps.com to determine if you are in a flood zone.

2. Gather supplies and prepare an emergency kit:
To prepare for a hurricane or any disaster, it is best to have an emergency kit available. This kit should contain nonperishable food, water (one gallon/person/day) and clothing to sustain each family member for three to seven days. The kit should include a flashlight, radio and spare batteries. Blankets, rain gear and appropriate footwear also are recommended. Special considerations must be made for the young or disabled. Remember to include baby food and medicines as appropriate. In addition, the kit should include photo copies of important family documents, such as birth certificates and insurance policies. A complete checklist of items for your emergency kit can be found here.

3. Fuel cars, obtain cash and secure important documents:
Residents should fill their cars with gasoline and have enough cash on hand to last a week in case they are ordered to evacuate. During power-outages, gas stations and ATM machines do not work. It is also important to secure original copies of documents in a waterproof container in case of flooding.

4. Obtain supplies to protect the home:
If residents are ordered to evacuate, there will be little time to protect their homes from the storm. Supplies, such as lumber and shutters, should be purchased now, and window casing pre-drilled. Homeowners should clear their property of all debris that could damage buildings in strong winds. Cars should be stored in the garage.

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