RALEIGH, N.C. — All eyes are on Hurricane Matthew as the Category 4 storm is forecast to near the North Carolina coast as early as this weekend.
“We’re taking this storm very seriously,” Gov. Pat McCrory said during a press conference Monday. “Even though this storm is several days out, we still don’t know exactly what the storm track will be.”
McCrory met with Emergency Management Director Mike Sprayberry to provide an update on the state’s preparation for Hurricane Matthew.
“Right now the time track and intensity could very well change as it moves up past the eastern coast of the United States,” Sprayberry said, adding that tropical storm-force winds extend 200 miles out from the eye of the hurricane.
“It’s a strong storm, a big storm,” Sprayberry said. “It will create issues for North Carolina even if it just hits us with a glancing blow.”
McCrory declared a state of emergency for 66 counties in central-eastern North Carolina, WGHP reports. Farmers, McCrory said, need time to deal with their crops, already heavily damaged by recent rains.
The emergency area is Alamance, Anson, Beaufort, Bertie, Bladen, Brunswick, Camden, Carteret, Caswell, Chatham, Chowan, Columbus, Craven, Cumberland, Currituck, Dare, Davidson, Davie, Duplin, Durham, Edgecombe, Forsyth, Franklin, Gates, Granville, Greene, Guilford, Halifax, Harnett, Hertford, Hoke, Hyde, Johnston, Jones, Lee, Lenoir, Martin, Montgomery, Moore, Nash, New Hanover, Northampton, Onslow, Orange, Pamlico, Pasquotank, Pender, Perquimans, Person, Pitt, Randolph, Richmond, Robeson, Rockingham, Sampson, Scotland, Stokes, Surry, Tyrrell, Vance, Wake, Warren, Washington, Wayne, Wilson and Yadkin counties.
“We want to make sure we have everything in place early prior to the potential of the hurricane hitting North Carolina,” McCrory said. “If it comes, we want to be prepared as early as possible.”