Gov. McCrory issues State of Emergency ahead of Hurricane Matthew

RALEIGH, N.C. (WAVY) — North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory on Monday declared a state of emergency for 66 counties in the state.

McCrory made the declaration so that farmers can get assistance to expedite their harvest. He announced the state of emergency during a news conference updating the state of preparations for Hurricane Matthew.

“We’re taking this storm extremely seriously and again, our goal is to be over prepared and hopefully underwhelmed,” McCrory stated in Monday’s news conference.

The Red Cross also urged residents in North Carolina on Monday to prepare as the powerful storm looms in the Caribbean Sea.

Red Cross seeks volunteers ahead of Hurricane Matthew

Matthew, the most powerful Atlantic storm since 2007, was threatening to work its way up the east coast toward North Carolina — and possibly over top of the Outer Banks. The storm’s track shifted Wednesday and is expected to to miss Virginia entirely and only clip the southern portion of North Carolina.

Based on the current track, tropical storm force winds are still possible across coastal North Carolina, especially in areas south of Cape Hatteras. Flooding from heavy rain and storm surge remain likely, particularly in southeastern North Carolina.

Ocracoke Island in Hyde County has suspended calls for evacuation.

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At least 11 deaths had been blamed on the powerful storm during its week-long march across the Caribbean, five of them in Haiti. But with a key bridge washed out, roads impassable and phone communications down, the western tip of Haiti was isolated and there was no word on dead and injured.

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Despite the lack of clarity among the forecasting models, the Red Cross advises that it is better for residents to get ready now.

“The better prepared folks are, the safer they will be should Hurricane Matthew impact our coastline,” said Barry Porter, regional chief executive officer of the Red Cross in Eastern NC. “The Red Cross encourages residents to build a kit of necessities, ready their homes, and make a plan with their families.”

The Red Cross released a list Monday that residents can use to get ready:

  • Listen to a NOAA Weather Radio (Available on the Red Cross Store) for critical information from the National Weather Service (NWS).
  • Check your disaster supplies. Replace or restock as needed.
  • Bring in anything that can be picked up by the wind (bicycles, lawn furniture).
  • Close your windows, doors and hurricane shutters. If you do not have hurricane shutters, close and board up all windows and doors with plywood.
  • Turn your refrigerator and freezer to the coldest setting. Keep them closed as much as possible so that food will last longer if the power goes out.
  • Turn off propane tank.
  • Unplug small appliances.
  • Fill your car’s gas tank.
  • Create a hurricane evacuation plan with members of your household. Planning and practicing your evacuation plan minimizes confusion and fear during the event.
  • Find out about your community’s hurricane response plan. Plan routes to local shelters, register family members with special medical needs and make plans for your pets to be cared for.
  • Obey evacuation orders. Avoid flooded roads and washed out bridges.
  • Download the free Red Cross Emergency App

Stay with WAVY News 10 for the latest updates on Hurricane Matthew’s track.