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North Carolina Gov. Cooper plans State of Emergency ahead of Hurricane Irma

FILE - North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper is expected to hold a live briefing on preparations for Hurricane Irma at 5:30 p.m. (Photo credit: WLOS staff)

Gov. Roy Cooper has declared a State of Emergency, effective at 8 a.m. Thursday, for North Carolina and advised residents to prepare for the possible impacts of Hurricane Irma.

"There's still a lot that we don't know about this storm, and we don't know exactly where the storm will track, and we don't know yet which parts of North Carolina will be impacted," Cooper said Wednesday during a live briefing. "But what we do know, it is time for North Carolinians to get ready for Irma."

The governor advised residents to prepare for possible impacts from the storm, including learning evacuation routes and making emergency kits.

"Learn about evacuation routes for your home and business and where you would go if you're ordered to evacuate," Cooper said.

The American Red Cross echoed the governor's message Wednesday afternoon as local volunteers trained to potentially be deployed in Irma's wake. They are planning on sheltering up to 120,000 people at this point and already have volunteers in Puerto Rico and Florida.

"We're asking people to be sure that they have an emergency kit ready to go. That includes everything from prescription medications to eye glasses, any special needs items that you have, and also flashlights," said Alli Trask, the Asheville executive director. "We recommend a three-day supply of food and water."

To make sure you and your family are prepared in the event of an emergency visit Redcross.org or ReadyNC.org

Hurricane Irma is currently a Category 5 storm and reached the Caribbean on Wednesday, making its first landfall among the northeast islands. Florida residents were rushing to evacuate on Wednesday ahead of the storm's arrival.

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