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Hurricane Joaquin No Longer Poses Direct Threat To Carolinas

joaquin_projection_1100.jpg
National Hurricane Center
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Projection for Hurricane Joaquin as of 2:00 p.m. Friday

The major hurricane that was projected to hit the North Carolina coast this weekend is now aiming much farther out to sea. The National Weather Service projects Hurricane Joaquin will pose little threat to the Carolinas, but state leaders are still urging caution.

After the category 4 hurricane finishes pounding the Bahamas, it'll steer out into the Atlantic Ocean, according to the National Hurricane Center's latest forecast. Dennis Feltgen is a meteorologist at the center.

"It's going to be moving to the north and then northeast at a faster forward speed over the next couple of days, which will keep it moving away from the southeastern United States, including the Carolinas, so that's good news," he says.

But Feltgen emphasizes that rain could still be a problem here. Governor Pat McCrory summed it up this way:

"While the trajectory of the hurricane looks better today, there will still be major issues that our state has to deal with," he said at a press conference on Friday.

In the Outer Banks, Ocracoke Island is under mandatory evacuation through tomorrow. Heavy rains could lead to flooding across the state over the weekend. And that would hurt one of North Carolina's biggest industries: farming. 

"We've still got serious concerns about potential damage to crops," North Carolina Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler said at the press conference.

"There are three things that can really impact production of agriculture," he continued. "One is a cool, wet spring - we had it. The second is drought and heat in the summertime - we had it. And the third is a wet fall and floods that would prevent crops from being harvested, so here we go."

North Carolina produces more tobacco than any other state, and Troxler estimates roughly 25 percent of this year's crop is at risk.

Feltgen, the meteorologist, says some places in the western Carolinas could get a foot of rain this weekend. The skies should clear on Tuesday.