For a hurricane safety checklist prepared by the Red Cross, click here

The National Hurricane Center’s 11 a.m. forecast today that Hurricane Irma’s path tracking up the east coast Florida — rather than through the center or Gulf coast, as in earlier projections.

Hurricane Irma, the strongest storm ever recorded in the Atlantic outside of the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico, is bearing down on the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. The storm maintained its 185-mph winds after making its first landfall on Barbuda early Wednesday.

Donnie Shumate, Hyde County public information officer, said Tuesday that when North Carolina comes under a hurricane “watch,” the Ocracoke Advisory Control Group will begin meeting in advance of the storm and that the group will begin meeting tomorrow (Thursday) afternoon.

This group, under the leadership of Hyde County EMS Director Justin Gibbs and composed of various government officials and business owners, gathers information from a variety of sources and advises the Hyde County commissioners about possible evacuations.

While the path has been the subject of speculation, particularly as it nears the U.S. East Coast over the next three days, the storm is expected to track towards southern Florida over the next several days.

“While it is too early to determine what, if any, direct impacts we could see from Irma, we are expecting long period swells that will lead to dangerous surf and strong rip currents along the Eastern N.C. beaches beginning Thursday and lasting through at least the weekend,” the Hurricane Center said.  “Irma is a potentially catastrophic Category 5 hurricane and will bring life-threatening wind, storm surge, and rainfall hazards” to areas it affects.

The the National Hurricane Center urges the completion of any emergency preparations and evacuations in the storm’s path.

State officials are monitoring Irma and studying forecast tracks closely, according to a press release from Gov. Roy Cooper’s office.  Public Safety Secretary Erik Hooks said state emergency management officials are coordinating with local officials and state partners to ensure they have what they need and that their teams and supplies are ready should the storm impact North Carolina.

For the latest report from National Public Radio, click here.

Hurricane Irma’s rains began hitting Puerto Rico Wednesday. Mandatory evacuation orders are in effect for Key West and surrounding areas that are in the storm’s path.
National Hurricane Center
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