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Cooper declares state of emergency for NC ahead of Hurricane Isaias

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Now is the time to prepare. 

That’s the message Gov. Roy Cooper emphasized Friday as he declared a state of emergency for North Carolina ahead of Hurricane Isaias. 

“Although the track and arrival of the hurricane could still change, now is the time for North Carolinians to prepare,” Cooper said during Friday’s press conference. “Hurricane preparations will be different given the COVID-19 pandemic, and families need to keep that in mind as they get ready.”

The current forecast is for Hurricane Isaias to increase in intensity over the next 24 hours, according to state officials. 

The storm shifted west Friday afternoon, and its speed and path indicate it could reach North Carolina as early as Monday, making its greatest impact Monday night and Tuesday, according to a news release from Cooper’s office. 

Cooper said the state is already seeing signs of the storm with a high risk of dangerous rip currents along the coast, and the danger of tropical storm-force winds is increasing. 

Some local governments in North Carolina have already issued evacuation orders. 

As the state combats the COVID-19 pandemic, state officials on Friday urged people to make efforts to stay with family and friends, or even to stay in a hotel, as the first option. 

The state will coordinate shelters for those who need to evacuate and don’t have safe lodging. But officials say sheltering will be different from past procedures due to COVID-19 restrictions in place.