CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- As Hurricane Irma continues on its track toward the United States as a powerful Category 4 hurricane, both Carolinas are under a state of emergency to prepare.
North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper announced Wednesday that a state of emergency would go into effect at 8 a.m. Thursday. South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster declared a state of emergency for the Palmetto State Wednesday.
In a press conference Friday night, Governor McMaster ordered the mandatory evacuation of barrier islands in three counties in preparation for Irma. Colleton County, Beaufort County, and Jasper County's barrier islands are to be evacuated effective 10 a.m. ahead of the storm. McMaster also warned of a possible storm surge on the Carolina coast of 4-8 feet.
On Saturday morning, Governor Cooper provided an update on North Carolina's Hurricane Irma preparedness.
Cooper urged residents to prepare for the storm, and addressed the spike in travelers passing through the Tarheel state as evacuees head North of Irma's path. All road work projects have been suspended to aid traffic.
The National Guard will be stationed in Greensboro, Asheville and Charlotte to help with storm response. Emergency response staff will be shifting from eastern to western areas of the state to account for the west moving storm.
The Governor also urged residents to be vigilant of scams related to storm relief. The Department of Public Safety has a website that can be used to stay up to date on the latest storm preparedness information.
In a press briefing on Saturday, Gov. McMaster gave an update on emergency response in South Carolina. The state will still be impacted by the west moving storm. The American Red Cross has opened shelters to accommodate evacuees in impacted areas. Reports of price gouging can be reported to the SC Attorney General.
Grocery Stores respond to Irma preparations
"We will share information about store closings or abbreviated hours on our website, www.harristeeter.com. There is not one but rather a variety of factors which could lead to the decision to close a store or abbreviate hours. A few of these factors are: unsafe conditions for our valued associates or shoppers; power outage; flood; inaccessibility due to road closures, etc. Plans are in place to re-open as safely and quickly as possible any stores which may be required to close or abbreviate hours of operation."
"At this time our Charlotte area stores are operating under normal business hours. It’s still a bit too soon to determine future closures, however, we will continue to monitor the storm and advisories. The safety of our customers and associates is our main priority. Customers can stay updated on the status of our stores at publix.com/status."
“We are tracking this storm in real time and staying closely connected with our store management teams, reminding our associates of emergency procedures and what to do before, during and after the storm. We will remain open for our customers as long as safe conditions prevail. If a mandatory evacuation is ordered, we will close our facilities with enough time for our associates to secure shelter for themselves and their families.”