NC Emergency Management teams at work on Irma preps

Saul Bowman
September 10, 2017

Hurricane Irma is still a monster storm that could be devastating to much of Florida this weekend.

Hurricane Irma had dropped to a Category 3 storm, with sustained winds of 125 miles per hour Saturday after passing over Cuba on a track towards Key West and the west coast of the Florida peninsula. The North Carolina National Guard will begin staging crews in Charlotte, Greensboro and Asheville on Sunday in preparation to support storm response activities if needed, including debris removal, shelter operations, and delivering and distributing supplies. The storm could also produce isolated tornadoes in the Carolinas early next week.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center's latest forecast projects Irma's potent eye could make multiple landfalls in Florida.

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

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.

Hurricane-force winds whipped the Florida Keys, closed Tampa Bay's Skyway Bridge and blew through a largely empty Miami Saturday at the leading edge of the storm. It should slowly weaken as it interacts with land.

"They were rescuing lives from Lumberton all the way up to the Virginia line and everywhere in between", Thomas said.

"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".

"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 made landfall in the Caribbean on Wednesday, causing significant damage on several islands and leaving half of Puerto Rico without power.

The National Hurricane Center placed the entire Georgia coast under a hurricane watch Saturday as residents packed their cars and trickled onto the highways in six counties under a mandatory evacuation. At this point, there is no plan to suspend classes unless there is an imminent threat to the safety of students, staff, and faculty on campus.All updates will be posted to the WCU Weather-Related Announcements website at: "".

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