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Cooper Orders Evacuation Of NC Islands; Dorian's Impact On Charlotte Expected To Be Limited

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NOAA

Updated 2:15 p.m. Tuesday

Evacuations have been ordered in Charleston and other parts of South Carolina’s coastal counties as Hurricane Dorian approaches the U.S. mainland. In North Carolina, evacuations have been ordered for all islands along the coast.

Right now, Dorian is expected to skirt the coast from the eastern side of Florida up through the Carolinas. 

The storm is expected to shift northward over the next 24 hours.

It’s expected to approach the coast of South Carolina late Wednesday night and the North Carolina coast late Thursday night, likely bringing to coastal areas tropical storm force winds and up to 10 inches of rain. Keith Acree with North Carolina Emergency Management says flooding will be the biggest threat to coastal communities.

“If you look back to our experience in (hurricanes) Matthew and Florence, flooding was the big issue," Acree told WFAE. "I think we’re going to see flooding — not the extent that we did because the rainfall amounts are expected to be somewhat less, but I think the wind could be more of a factor than what we saw with Matthew and Florence."

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper issued an evacuation order for all barrier islands starting at 8 a.m. Wednesday.

“Please listen to and follow all evacuation orders,” Cooper said in a news release accompanying his order. “We have seen the life and death effects of this storm in the Bahamas, and we urge everyone on the islands at the coast to leave.”

In general, the governor urged people across the state to prepare. 

"Forecasts show that North Carolina will likely see heavy winds, rain and flooding and I urge everyone to take it seriously," Cooper said Monday. "The time to prepare is now. " 

An evacuation order for residents of Dare County in North Carolina goes into effect at 6 a.m. Wednesday.

Cooper said the hurricane is already generating dangerous riptides along North Carolina's coast. He says law enforcement officers and shelter workers are "on alert" in case other evacuation orders are necessary. Cooper declared a state of emergency for the entire state Saturday. The order allows farmers to use heavier trucks to harvest crops and move livestock more quickly.

Cooper also said he activated 300 members of the North Carolina National Guard and that hundreds of Highway Patrol troopers were monitoring major roadways throughout the state.

U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis said in a tweet Monday that he had spoken with President Trump, and that the president told him Cooper's request for a federal emergency declaration will be granted.

In the Charlotte region, the forecast calls for some rain and a 10-30% chance of tropical storm-force winds.

Many evacuees are expected to come to the Charlotte area. Charlotte Motor Speedway says it's opening its Rock City Campground and bathroom facilities to evacuees free of charge.