Update, Thursday 11 a.m. — The latest storm path predictions of Hurricane Irma show the storm traveling across inland Georgia and South Carolina, according to the National Weather Service.
The predictions for Monday show a range of impact areas from central Tennessee to the Raleigh Durham area of North Carolina. Wilmington and the Cape Fear area is on the far east edge of the prediction path, while the Outer Banks are outside the predicted path.
As with previous prediction maps, the NWS has reiterated that there is a good deal of uncertainty with 3-5 day predictions.
The National Weather Service Wednesday afternoon released a storm track update that noted that a northerly turn of Hurricane Irma is looking more likely by the weekend. That leaves the possibility the storm could hit Georgia as well as South and North Carolina by early next week.
The agency notes the track is still uncertain. As of 4 p.m. on Wednesday the storm was a category 5 hurricane and making its way eastward through the Caribbean, toward Puerto Rico.
“While a turn to the north is looking more and more likely by later this weekend, the uncertainty with the track, and subsequent impacts, remains high, especially for the Carolinas,” the National Weather Service update stated. “As a result of the expected northward movement the probability for at least tropical storm force winds is increasing across our area.”
Possible storm problems could include a weekend of dangerous surf and rip currents, the NWS stated.
“It’s too early to tell what specific surge, wind, rainfall, and tornado impacts could occur,” the update stated. “However, regardless of the ultimate track of the storm the combination of above normal astronomical tides and large wave action is likely to cause beach erosion
which can further damage vulnerable coastal infrastructure previously damaged by Matthew.”
The current track map issued by the National Hurricane Center shows the so-called impact cone wide enough to reach the Cape Fear Region.
“Remember that there are large track errors in long range hurricane predictions,” the National Weather Service update stated. “Also, the error cone is not an impact cone. Impacts can occur outside of this cone.”
However, on Tuesday, Governor Roy Cooper had already issued a statement calling on North Carolinians to be prepared for the storm’s potential arrival by updating emergency plans and kits.
“You can never be too prepared for an emergency,” Governor Cooper said. “We know from Hurricane Matthew and Hurricane Harvey that storm tracks can shift quickly and that’s why North Carolina isn’t waiting to get ready. These tropical systems can pack a powerful punch and those who are prepared ahead of time will fare better.”
Tip for preparing
Cooper’s office and the National Weather Service offered tips to prepare, some of which overlapped. They include:
- Have a hurricane plan in place. The time to prepare is now.
- Stay tuned to local news for the latest advisories from the National Weather Service and National Hurricane Center (NHC), as well as state and local emergency management officials.
- Ensure that your supplies are in order and know what your family would do if evacuations are ordered.
- Be sure your emergency supplies kit has enough bottled water and non-perishable food to sustain each family member for three to seven days.
- Plan for your pets. Gather supplies for your pet and put them in an easily-accessible container.
- Prepare your home. Clean out gutters and clear property of debris that could damage buildings in strong winds. Supplies needed to secure your home, such as lumber and shutters, should be purchased now, and window casings pre-drilled.
- Determine now if you are in a flood plain or flood-prone area.
- Learn evacuation routes for your area. Listen to local officials and evacuate as instructed.