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State prepares with watchful eye on Hurricane Irma

State prepares with watchful eye on Hurricane Irma”

Roy Cooper has declared a state of emergency in preparation for Hurricane Irma, which is predicted to reach the state as early as Monday or Tuesday.

Initial plans called for opening staging areas across the state, but now only centers in Greensboro and Asheville are planned. A hurricane watch was also issued for the SC coast from the Georgia line to Edisto Beach, about 40 miles (65 kilometers) southwest of Charleston.

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.

Governor Cooper says the state is shifting emergency management staff to the western areas of North Carolina due to the projected path of Irma.

The latest forecast from the National Hurricane Center, a division of the National Weather Service, shows Irma making three landfalls on the Florida coast.

"This is a deadly storm and our state has never seen anything like it", Scott said. There remains an outside chance that Irma could move along a more easterly track.

In its 11 a.m. advisory for Hurricane Jose, the National Weather Service announced Jose has grown from a Category 3 hurricane to a Category 4.

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"Once it gets over land, it will weaken quite a bit wind-wise", Fishel said, "but Georgia, Alabama and Tennessee will still get quite a bit of rain before it's all over".

Cooper added that statewide preparedness was "crucial", and said emergency management teams were continuing to take the "large and powerful storm seriously".

"The key at this point is to remain vigilant and follow the news", she said. The declaration would allow the town access to federal help in repairing any infrastructure damage from the storm.

McDaniel said the city also began releasing water from the North Fork Dam last week in anticipation of heavy rainfall.

Strong winds resulting in power outages, several inches of rain and flooding and an increased threat of tornadoes are all possible in the first part of next week, according to the briefing.

"Western Carolina University Emergency Services has been monitoring Hurricane Irma and its potential impact on the university", WCU Provost Alison Morrison-Shetlar said in a statement Thursday. Irma's effects are likely to conclude by Wednesday.



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