RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN/AP) — The National Hurricane Center’s 11 a.m. update to its Hurricane Irma forecast continued to show that the massive storm is still a Category 5 and that North Carolina is now in Irma’s path.
North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper declared a state of emergency effective at 8 a.m. Thursday and at 11 a.m. Thursday, authorities announced that a Hurricane Watch has been issued for parts of Florida.
North Carolina remains in the storm’s potential track.
The Red Cross is staging supplies such as food, water, wheelchairs and medication at sites around the state, including in Fuquay-Varina, Goldsboro and Fayetteville, Wilmington and New Bern. Another Red Cross office is setting up similar sites in the western part of the state.
The organization is also working to get shelters ready for the storm.
Red Cross workers are readying across the state because it isn’t yet clear where in North Carolina the storm’s effects will be felt most strongly. As the “cone of uncertainty” in the forecast narrows as the hurricane draws nearer, the Red Cross will shift volunteers to the hardest-hit areas.
North Carolina Emergency Management Director Mike Sprayberry said just after noon on Thursday that members of the North Carolina National Guard are being activated to help prep for Irma.
“We’re bringing in about 310 soldiers right now, and we can flex and surge more if we need to,” Sprayberry said.
The National Guard members will offer skills including search and rescue, hasty road repair and debris removal, he said.