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10 September 2017, 12:51 | Katrina Lee
Cooper says that while Hurricane Irma is projected to travel west of the state, it will still bring heavy rains and wind, particularly in the mountains and along the border with SC.
Sunday morning, National Guardsmen will begin staging crews in Greensboro, Charlotte and Asheville.
By the time the once-monster storm makes its way far enough north for North Carolina to feel any effects, it will have weakened a long way from the Category 3 that threatens landfall along the west coast of Florida Sunday.
The NHC's forecast shows Irma has the potential to pass over western North Carolina, as well as western South Carolina, Alabama and northern Mississippi.
Irma's track shifted late Friday and early Saturday. 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.
"Tampa is very, very, very vulnerable to this type of storm", Fishel said.
The most recent briefing on Hurricane Irma was published by the National Weather Service at 5 p.m. Thursday and describes moderate-to-high confidence in impact for the central part of the state. Wyatt said the Mountain State Fair, which opens this weekend, could be affected by the storm.
Director Allen Thomas said North Carolina Emergency Management serves as a staple for states across the country. At present, hurricane force winds extend 70 miles from the center of Irma and tropical storm force winds extend out 185 miles.
On the coast, Cooper said, there have been unsafe rip currents.
Climatologists have always been predicting more active storm seasons due to climate change, and we have seen those forecasts come true. The heaviest rainfall is expected early Tuesday morning.
The region's universities, which have substantial numbers of students and faculty commuting along narrow mountain roads that susceptible to landslides and through valleys that could be threatened by flooding, are also keeping an eye on the system. "At this point, it is too early to tell what, if any, effects may occur as a result of Hurricane Irma".
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.
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