Safety officials are preparing for Hurricane Matthew, which could hit the Carolinas this weekend. North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory declared a state of emergency Monday for more than 60 counties.

Hurricane Matthew is currently a category 4. It's not clear at this point if the massive storm will make landfall, but emergency officials are urging people to be ready.

“Already, we've seen substantial flooding in eastern and central parts of the state from recent rain events, and many areas are already saturated,” says McCrory. “We are taking this storm seriously, and I encourage residents and visitors do the same.” 

Gov. McCrory's state of emergency targets 66 counties in central and eastern North Carolina. The move was prompted by state agriculture agencies to give farmers more time to harvest their crops before the storm hits. It also lifts weight and other restrictions for trucks.

According to a press release from the governor's office, the state's Emergency Management team began coordinating storm preparations with South Carolina, Virginia and officials from the Federal Emergency Management Agency last Thursday.

A FEMA incident management team has arrived to expedite any federal assets that may be needed to respond to the storm.

“North Carolina has one of the country's best response teams,” Public Safety Secretary Frank L. Perry said. “It has been tested repeatedly over the past few weeks, but our colleagues are ready to respond as called. Meanwhile, we urge residents and visitors to recheck your emergency plans, restock your emergency kits, and pay close attention in the coming days to the weather forecast and any instructions from local officials.”

Some meteorologists predict the coast could see tropical storm-force winds and flooding over the weekend, even if Hurricane Matthew remains at sea.

And with grounds already saturated from recent heavy rains, emergency officials are also preparing for downed trees and power outages.  


*Follow WFDD's Keri Brown on Twitter @kerib_news

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