North Carolina governor declares State of Emergency ahead of Hurricane Irma

RALEIGH, N.C. - North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper has declared a State of Emergency for all 100 counties as Hurricane Irma gets closer to the U.S.  It will go into effect at 8 a.m. Thursday morning.

In a news release Wednesday, officials said the state is bracing for "almost certain impacts from Hurricane Irma early next week."

“There is a lot we still don’t know about this storm, but we do know that North Carolina can expect to feel some sort of effects as soon as early next week, and now is the time to get prepared," Gov. Cooper said. "Wherever you live in North Carolina – from the mountains to the piedmont to the coast – you need to take this storm seriously, and you need to start preparing for some type of impact.”

According to the news release, the State of Emergency allows officials to facilitate the movement of any resources that may be needed to respond to the storm. It also waives truck weight, size and hours of service restrictions so that vehicles carrying essential supplies such as food, medicine, fuel or transporting livestock or crops can get their jobs done quickly.

“Our emergency response teams are seasoned and ready. They have been tested repeatedly over the past year and our colleagues are ready to respond as called,” Public Safety Secretary Erik Hooks said. “But we cannot weather this storm alone. This is a tremendous storm. We need residents and visitors to ensure they are ready: check your emergency plans, restock your emergency kits, and pay close attention in the coming days to the weather forecast.”

The news release said the state’s Emergency Management team began coordinating storm preparations over the Labor Day weekend with county partners, state agencies and South Carolina, Virginia and officials from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. They have requested a FEMA incident management team to expedite any federal assets that may be needed to respond to the storm.

Last year, the town of Windsor saw major flooding. People who live and work there say they're hoping it doesn't happen again. "It gets tiresome," said Sandra Austin, who works at a restaurant. "It's a headache, but we get through it."