The Daily Tar Heel

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Wednesday May 25th

Hurricane Michael set to hit N.C. communities already in recovery

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It’s been four weeks since Hurricane Florence hit the coast of North Carolina, and there’s already another hurricane making its way toward the state.

Hurricane Michael made landfall on the Florida Panhandle early Wednesday afternoon as a Category 4 and is expected to travel up the east coast through the end of the week.

Early Wednesday, Gov. Roy Cooper declared a state of emergency for North Carolina due to risk from Michael. 

“I’m taking action to get North Carolina ready for Hurricane Michael, and I encourage people across our state to get ready as well,” Cooper said in a Wednesday press release. “Make no mistake — Hurricane Michael is a dreadful storm, and it poses serious risks to North Carolina.” 

The storm should weaken rapidly before reaching the Carolinas, but tropical storm-force winds and heavy rain are still likely in many parts of of the state, the N.C. Department of Public Safety said.

Many of the devastating effects of Florence were due to its slow moving nature. However, Michael is expected to move quickly, reaching North Carolina by Wednesday night.

“Fortunately, this time the storm is not expected to stall,” said Ken Widelski, the national weather liaison at NOAA. “It will be moving rather quickly and out to sea off the southern New England coast by Friday.”

Jeffrey Byard, associate administrator for the Office of Response and Recovery of FEMA, said Hurricane Michael is different from Florence in many ways. Michael’s quick moving path has made the time to prepare much shorter than that of Florence.

"The time to evacuate and heed the local warnings is now," Byard said in a briefing. "As Ken just alluded to, Hurricane Michael is going to be a devastating storm to a part of Florida that has not seen a storm of this magnitude in quite some time." 

Several inches of rain are expected across the state in a short period of time. Heavy rain can lead to flash flooding, especially where the ground is still saturated from Florence, DPS said.

Cooper encouraged those whose homes were damaged by Florence to take any necessary steps to secure their homes before Michael hits.

The Raleigh office of the National Weather Service predicts 5.7 inches of rain for Central North Carolina. Several local school systems, including Orange, Cumberland, Durham and Wake, have cancelled classes in preparation for Michael.

The North Carolina State Fair, which was set to open Thursday, pushed its opening to Friday at 10 a.m.

Read more about what's cancelled in the area because of Hurricane Michael

State Fair officials said they are mainly concerned about the strong wind gusts that could damage the attraction tents or potentially harm the thousands of animals on the grounds.

Though Michael is set to be less destructive than Florence was, officials are still urging citizens to be prepared.

“The last thing people cleaning up from Florence need right now is more wind and rain. But this storm is coming, and we will be ready for it,” Cooper said. 


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