NC coast braces for 'severe impact' from Hurricane Matthew

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The NC coast prepares for Hurricane Matthew's impending arrival.

Gov. Pat McCrory is urging North Carolinians throughout the central and eastern part of the state to gather emergency supplies, discuss emergency plans and carefully monitor the forecast as Hurricane Matthew nears.

That is exactly what coastal leaders are doing in the calm before the storm.

"It looks like it's going to be a severe impact for Pender County and probably the whole east Coast," said Tom Collins, Pender County EMS Director.


He and other Pender County officials are stocking up on supplies as Matthew churns closer to the Carolina coast.

"We are looking at the possibility of evacuations and opening our shelters to house people that either live in a tidal stage area or substandard homes or in flood prone areas," Collins explained.

The county has also deployed its Emergency Mobile Command Unit.

"With each subsequent forecast, the impacts to our state appear to be more substantial," McCrory said.

UNC-Wilmington leaders have also issued a mandatory evacuation for students and faculty beginning Thursday.

To the north, Cape Lookout National Seaside Park is closed to tourists. A mandatory evacuation order has been issued to give officials enough time to secure the area.

All up and down the coast, events have been canceled, including the 66th Nags Head Surf Fishing Tournament because of the tough driving conditions on the beaches of Kill Devil Hills and Nags Head.

Operators at the Onslow County Fair are still planning to stay open for visitors, but leaders are worried the fun may be cut short by the storm.

In Wilmington, the Fire in the Pines Festival has been rescheduled for next weekend to avoid the hurricane.

Officials in New Bern will set up the city's Emergency Operations Center on Wednesday and will remain on standby for mobilization ahead of the storm. Public Utilities staff there will begin topping off fuel in emergency response vehicles and equipment over the next couple of days. New Bern's storm water pumps will begin operating soon in an effort to increase floodwater capacity ahead of the storm.

"I cannot stress enough how critical it is that all of our residents in central and eastern North Carolina begin preparations for their families and homes. For those residents in the eastern parts of the state, it is especially critical that you update your emergency supply kits in case you need to evacuate and always follow the directions of your local emergency officials," McCrory said.

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