GOVERNOR: Disaster is on the doorstep

RALEIGH, NC (WITN) - Governor Roy Cooper told North Carolinians today, "Disaster is on the doorstep, and it's coming in."

Cooper gave an emergency update from Raleigh on Wednesday morning. He described Hurricane Florence as running a marathon, not a sprint, saying the storm may batter the state for days.

Flood plain experts are modeling projecting impacts from the rainfall and storm surge, Cooper says, and tens of thousands of structures are expected to be flooded as a result of Hurricane Florence.

"No matter where the storm comes ashore, it will have widespread, significant impacts," Cooper said. "Every county and every person in North Carolina needs to stay alert and take this storm seriously."

Cooper said hospitals and long-term care facilities in the storm's path have been following their emergency protocols, including moving patients. Prisons and jails in the danger zone are also evacuating to safer locations.

"Power plants are taking all necessary preparations to protect property and have staff ready to help people get power back after the storm. We are well positioned to assist with power needs," Cooper said.

In addition to Cooper, the briefing included comments from Emergency Management, Highway Patrol, Department of Health and Human Services, DOT, FEMA, and the National Guard.

A team from the Army Corps of Engineers is working at the state Emergency Operations Center to monitor all high-hazard dams. Mike Sprayberry from Emergency Management encouraged local governments to report any dam breaches immediately. No significant amounts of water are being released through dams currently because of the amount of rainfall expected with Hurricane Florence.

As of Wednesday morning, Sprayberry said they believed about 4,00 people are in shelters, but the number fluctuates often. A large amount of people who are under mandatory evacuation orders have left, Sprayberry said, but there is no one way to know for sure how many people did not evacuate.

Governor Cooper plans to travel to Kinston's Global TransPark on Wednesday afternoon, for a briefing there at 12:30 p.m.