Storm path steers away from North Carolina

Source WBRC

Irma's ultimate track is still far from certain, but the National Hurricane Center extends the cone of its potential paths across SC and western North Carolina.

He also has crews ready to inspect trouble spots in the state.

"We are putting plans in play; everything from fueling up generators, preparing to staff up for Emergency Services, communicating with our partners for sheltering operations to ensuring chain saw crews", Simpson said.

When the governor initially declared a state of emergency for all 100 counties, Irma was headed directly toward the state.

"With the latest storm track, Irma will likely bring heavy rains and wind to North Carolina beginning Monday", Cooper said at a press conference.

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.

There are still plenty of unknowns with Hurricane Irma such as where it is going to hit North Carolina and when.

Cooper also advised for people to be mindful at the gas pump, saying only to take what you need.

The expected trajectory took on a more westward path, skirting most of the state. Gov. Rick Scott sounded dire warnings about the storm Saturday morning, urging residents in evacuation zones to leave their homes immediately. There remains an outside chance that Irma could move along a more easterly track.

Climatologists have always been predicting more active storm seasons due to climate change, and we have seen those forecasts come true. Slightly higher amounts are expected to the west of the city.

Rain and at least tropical storm force winds are expected to hit central North Carolina by late Sunday night or early Monday morning. But before the storm reaches the peninsula, the Florida Keys will experience its full force. But because of the size of the hurricane, Florida's east coast remains in danger, including from storm surges that will easily overwhelm some areas.

The storm's wind speeds have weakened a bit, but Irma is expected to remain a Category 4 or 5 when it strikes south Florida by the start of the weekend, according to the National Weather Service. Those staging grounds will be up and running Sunday afternoon. Wind - Tropical Storm with Hurricane gusts.

From there, emergency management can organize any number of requests for aid and deploy anyone from the National Guard to Marines.

"Tampa is very, very, very vulnerable to this type of storm", Fishel said.

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