RALEIGH (WTVD) --Gov. Pat McCrory addressed North Carolina residents Saturday afternoon to remind everyone that Hurricane Matthew's impacts are serious and deadly.
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"Very serious flooding, very serious winds and as a result of that, we've already had loss of life," McCrory told the media. "And we don't want any more loss of life in North Carolina because of this very, very serious storm. Because conditions are going to get worse."
Fayetteville city leaders issued a curfew to keep people of the roads, and McCrory emphasized how treacherous the roads are because of the storm.
"The mayor of Fayetteville, who I just talked to within the last half hour, he couldn't say it any stronger. Nat Robertson wants the people, not only to stay off the roads, get off the sidewalks and quit walking around. It is very, very dangerous conditions right now in Fayetteville, North Carolina," McCrory stated.
The governor informed the public about a potentially catastrophic situation in Lumberton, where a levy could potentially break during the storm.
"In Lumberton, there is danger of a levy breaking. Officials there are looking at that very closely, and there is a potential evacuation of hundreds of people, in which hundreds of structures could be impacted."
Crews across the state are mobile and responding to storm-related emergencies as quickly as possible. The governor said there are 645,000 homes without power in 65 counties. There are also 59 shelters open in 23 counties with almost 1,000 people seeking refuge from Hurricane Matthew.
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"We are expecting extreme rainfall leading to life-threatening flooding across eastern NC during the next 24 hours, and maybe even longer."
More than 100 people representing several agencies including the National Guard, FEMA, and the NC State Highway Patrol, keep the Emergency Operations Center staffed around the clock.
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At Gov. McCrory's 9:30 a.m. update from the EOC Saturday, he expressed concerns over Matthew being downgraded to a Category 1 storm.
"I'm extremely concerned since this hurricane has been downgraded that people will let up their guard," he said. "And it's these types of hurricanes that settle over our state that have caused the most damage and loss of life and destruction."
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McCrory said the center of the storm is expected off the North Carolina coast around 2 a.m. Sunday, bringing five to 15 inches of rain east of I-95 in an already highly-saturated area.
"We still have serious concerns on the beaches, but most of our concerns right now are inland where we're gonna have surges on the major rivers coming into North Carolina which can cause some serious, serious damage," McCrory said. "It's not just about the beaches; it's inland where we can have loss of life."
Parts of eastern North Carolina and the Sandhills experienced devastating flooding in recent weeks, leading McCrory to urge residents to evacuate before the worst of Matthew hits.
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"We have 10 to 15 inches of rain expected, 10 to 15 inches of rain- that's a lot- in southeastern North Carolina," he said. "And if you are in a low-lying area and you know you're in a low-lying area that's flooded with a lot less rain than that, it's time to get out of there."
The NC Ferry Division evacuated 1,400 people from Ocracoke Island on the Outer Banks.
On Friday, North Carolina Emergency Management Director Mike Sprayberry was already honing in on eastern North Carolina and the Sandhills, telling ABC11 swift water rescue teams and other resources are already in place to respond.
"We got 16 National Guard vehicles that are high-water vehicles that are there with the troops, that can go in and perform rescues, carry supplies," Sprayberry explained. "I think we're well positioned to surge resources to the impacted areas."
The Salvation Army is also working out of the EOC- they have staged seven mobile feeding trucks along I-95.
"We are prepared," said McCrory. "We are ready for it."
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