RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Gov. Pat McCrory said in a press conference Saturday morning that Hurricane Matthew needs to be taken extremely seriously by North Carolina residents.
The storm has weakened from a Category 4 early Friday down to a Category 1 around 8 a.m. Saturday. Matthew is expected to remain a Category 1 as it stays just off the southeastern coast of North Carolina late Saturday or early Sunday.
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Heavy rain and wind will affect much of North Carolina on Saturday.
Gov. McCrory said that those hazards pose a deadly threat.
He said in his press conference that he “cannot stress enough how serious an issue this story, this hurricane can cause to North Carolina; not only to damage and structures, but to human life.”
McCrory didn’t mince words when it came to how serious a threat Hurricane Matthew is to the state.
“This has the potential for North Carolina to see the worst flooding since Hurricane Floyd,” he said.
Brunswick, New Hanover and Pender counties are under hurricane warnings, while the rest of the coast from Surf City to Duck is under a tropical storm warning. The effects of the storm are already being felt in North Carolina and conditions will continue to deteriorate throughout the day Saturday.
Although coastal areas are under hurricane or tropical storm warnings, McCrory said his biggest concern is for those inland.
“These types of hurricanes that settle over our state that cause the most damage and loss of life and destruction,” he said. “Most of our concerns right now are inland where we’re gonna have surges on the major rivers coming into North Carolina, which could cause serious, serious damage.”
He also said residents need to be ready for prolonged power outages.
RELATED: CENTRAL & EASTERN NC SHELTERS
The Sandhills could see anywhere from seven to 15 inches of rain on Saturday and gusts up to 60 mph. A swath of central North Carolina, including Raleigh, may see up to seven inches of rain, while the western half of Wake County as well as Durham and Orange counties could receive up to four inches of rain. Gusts up to 40 mph are expected in Raleigh, Rocky Mount, Sanford and Pinehurst.
The governor said those in low lying areas need to leave and that rising water can easily kill those who don’t take the threat seriously.
All of central North Carolina is under a flash flood watch until 6 p.m Sunday and southern Hoke, Scotland, Anson and Richmond counties are now under flash flood warnings until 2 p.m. Saturday. Montgomery, Harnett, Moore, northern Hoke, Stanly, Cumberland, Sampson and Lee counties are under a flash flood warning until 2:30 p.m. Saturday.
Tornado watches are in effect for portions of coastal North Carolina and the extreme northeast coast of South Carolina coastal waters, the National Weather Service announced. The watch is in effect until 4 p.m. Saturday.
Gov. McCrory said that trucks, boats and equipment staged in Kinston have been sent to Elizabethtown, New Bern and Williamston. Storm-related issues are expected in Southport. We have a CBS North Carolina crew on the ground in Southport.
Local swift water rescue teams are in Brunswick, New Hanover, Onslow, Pitt, Wilson, Cumberland and Craven counties.
Hazard response teams have been sent to Williamston, New Bern and Elizabethtown.
Sixty National Guard high-water vehicles have been staged in Laurinburg, Sanford, Elizabethtown, New Bern and Williamston.
Nearly 200 National Guard troops have been called in and 68 water rescue teams will be operation throughout the state.
The governor said that the state’s Emergency Operations Center has transitioned to 24-hour operations and there are more than 100 people in the building in Raleigh.
Evacuations have been called for in Pender, Cumberland, Robeson, Beaufort and New Hanover counties.
If you or someone you know has evacuated to the Triangle due to Hurricane Matthew here’s a list of hotels with available rooms in the area.