RALEIGH, N.C. Governor Beverly Perdue has declared a state of emergency for 24 western North Carolina Counties.

As Hurricane Sandy whips around the eastern coast, officials are anticipating a severe winter storm coupled with strong winds.

People need to continue to take this storm seriously as we face flooding in the east and significant winter weather in the west, said Gov. Perdue.

I urge North Carolinians in the impacted areas to take the necessary precautions to stay safe in this storm.

A winter storm warning is in effect in western North Carolina until 6 a.m. Tuesday.

Counties included in the declaration are: Alleghany, Ashe, Avery, Buncombe, Burke, Caldwell, Cherokee, Clay, Graham, Haywood, Henderson, Jackson, Macon, Madison, McDowell, Mitchell, Polk, Rutherford, Surry, Swain, Transylvania, Watauga, Wilkes and Yancey.

In a press release sent to NBC Charlotte, officials said the move would prohibit price gouging and allows the emergency response team to take necessary action to protect North Carolinians.

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