Gov. Pat McCrory declared a state of emergency in 66 counties Monday, in preparation for Hurricane Matthew, which is currently a Category 4 storm over Haiti.
Hurricane Matthew is expected to bring severe weather to North Carolina around the end of the week.
“While we do not yet know how Hurricane Matthew will impact North Carolina, we do know that we can expect some form of impacts on our state,” McCrory said. “Already, we’ve seen substantial flooding in eastern and central parts of the state from recent rain events, and many areas are already saturated. We are taking this storm seriously, and I encourage residents and visitors do the same.”
McCrory declared the state of emergency for 66 counties stretching from Yadkin County east to the coast. He also signed an executive order to ease overland transport regulations to facilitate the movement of any resources that may be needed to respond to the storm. The order also waives truck weight, size and hours of service restrictions so that farmers can quickly harvest their crops before the storm hits.
McCrory addressed gathered media in the state’s emergency operations center in Raleigh on Monday when he announced the orders.
As of Tuesday morning, four of the hurricane models predict that Matthew will make direct landfall in the state, while the remaining two predict it will swing right or stall off of the South Carolina/Georgia coast.
The HRWF model, which is a product of the National Weather Service, predicts the hurricane will make landfall in South Carolina around Myrtle Beach, then come up roughly following I-95. The Global Forecast System (GFS) model and the National Weather Service’s Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory (GFDL) model have the storm making landfall in North Carolina and running back out of the state before re-entering in New England.
The BAMM model, which is used for short-term storm track predictions, predicts that the storm will enter South Carolina near the Georgia border and come across the state on the southeastn-most corner of the state before heading back out to sea until clipping Newfoundland.
The forecast, according to wunderground.com, predicts that the storm will make landfall in the state as a category 2 storm after losing much of its force off the coast of Florida and Georgia.
On Monday, McCrory said that meteorologists have cautioned that the southeastern areas of the state could see gusty winds and rain bands as early as Friday morning, including rainfall amounts of three to five inches across much of the east with tropical storm force winds between 39 and 73 miles per hour extending nearly 200 miles from the center of the storm.
Following the heavy rainfall in the state over the past week not associated with the storm, there is a higher chance of downed trees and power outages from the saturated ground once the raid starts, as well as the risk of flash flooding.
“North Carolina has one of the country’s best response teams,” Public Safety Secretary Frank L. Perry said. “It has been tested repeatedly over the past few weeks, but our colleagues are ready to respond as called. Meanwhile, we urge residents and visitors to recheck your emergency plans, restock your emergency kits, and pay close attention in the coming days to the weather forecast and any instructions from local officials. Also, be sure to keep in touch with your family, friends and neighbors to let them know you’re safe.”
The state began coordinating with the governments of South Carolina and Virginia, as well as officials from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) on Thursday. On Monday a FEMA incident management team arrived to expedite any federal assets that may be needed to respond to the storm.