Gov. Cooper is warning residents, particularly those who live in coastal communities or near rivers and streams in Eastern North Carolina, to stay "watchful and alert" as Hurricane Michael continues on its track toward the region.
"We hope this thing blows through here and that we don't see much damage from it," Cooper said during a Hurricane Michael briefing this morning at the North Carolina National Guard's headquarters in Raleigh. "But we know we have to be ready. And hurricane-weary North Carolinians cannot let their guard down just because we're fatigued with Hurricane Florence."
Michael is expected to move up through the region from the Gulf Coast sometime between Wednesday and Friday, less than a month after Florence brought historic flooding to many areas. Cooper says this timing could worsen the storm's effects.
“We have saturated ground, which could exacerbate flash flooding. And [we] have weakened trees, which can cause more trees to fall than normal," Cooper said. "We also have repairs beginning in many homes. A number of homes have rooftop tarps that could be damaged or blown away with this wind.”
Ahead of Michael, state officials urge residents to stock up on food and water, prepare for power outages, clear outdoor debris and follow local news outlets for latest storm advisories. Residents who live in flood-prone areas should prepare to evacuate if necessary, Cooper said.
"I know people who weathered Florence this year and other storms before don't even want to think about another one -- but we have to," Cooper said.
Michael could bring moderate storm surge along the state's coast and to areas near sounds, the National Weather Service's update from this morning shows. The storm is not expected to cause major river flooding, but state officials are monitoring the rivers.
"Our local, state and federal partners are working together and making sure we are prepared to respond to any impacts from the storm in North Carolina," said Mike Sprayberry, director of North Carolina Emergency Management.