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Hurricane Irene Heading to Carolinas

By Michelle Bliss


Wilmington, NC – As Hurricane Irene picks up momentum, the National Weather Service is predicting a landfall in the Carolinas. WHQR's Michelle Bliss reports that maps are zeroing in on Charleston, South Carolina, but that could change later this week.

National Weather Service Meteorologist Steven Pfaff in Wilmington is encouraging residents to prepare in case Irene's heavy winds hit North Carolina's coast on Friday evening or Saturday.

"It looks like there's a moderate confidence that the storm's going to definitely track to the southeast United States. At this point in time, it's too far out to really pinpoint exactly where it's going to go. The error cone that we use to monitor the possible progression of the storm is focused across our area."

Pfaff says now is the time to prepare emergency evacuation plans for families and pets, along with removing any dangerous projectiles indoors.

"People, what they can do now, at this point in time, is to take up any loose debris along the yard: lawn furniture, pool furniture, umbrellas, trashcans, anything that can potentially be picked up by strong winds if Irene does come should be secured inside."

Pfaff also suggests getting prescriptions filled early this week and stopping at an ATM to have cash on hand. For boaters, Pfaff says to expect a weak swell to arrive early Tuesday that will increase in force later this week.

Wilmington usually gets a hurricane every 4 or 5 years but the last several have been weak. Pfaff says many area residents have not experienced a major storm requiring evacuations, like Hurricane Fran in 1996.

Do you have insight or expertise on this topic? If so, we'd like to hear from you. Please email the WHQR News Team.