Irma continues to batter south Florida

Spencer Hawkins

Spencer Hawkins

"Don't go two or three days without paying attention", he said, "and when it comes time to act, make sure you're relying on credible information". A total of 94 counties are now included.

Flanked by leaders of the major state agencies, Gov. Nathan Deal issued a warning Friday about Hurricane Irma. An increased number of law enforcement personnel are out in the community to ensure the protection of life and property.

Meteorologists say high clouds from approaching Hurricane Irma should begin filtering into the Rock Hill area by Sunday afternoon, with off-and-on rain arriving Monday morning.

Cooper also echoed today's Nation Weather Service warnings of severe rip currents and risky surf along the southeastern coast, including Brunswick, New Hanover and Pender counties. Heavy rain, flash flooding (especially in low-lying areas) and landslides may occur in the mountains.

The storm is expected to cross into Georgia on Monday, authorities said.

State officials are saying North Carolina will nearly certainly feel some impact from Hurricane Irma, the strongest Atlantic storm in recorded history. "The majority of the fatalities that occurred in that state related to traffic was people driving into water". In South Carolina, the statewide average is now $2.55- a 45 cent jump.

"People are traveling north to escape the hurricane's path, but as they travel they're finding all of the hotels are full", said Dan Owens, who is in charge of setting up the Greensboro shelter for the Red Cross.

More than six million people have been ordered or advised to evacuate in Florida, Georgia and SC. From Hazel to Floyd to Matthew, longtime residents of the Twin Counties know firsthand the devastation these storms can inflict and understand the importance of being prepared and acting with caution.

"This is a time when we've got to come together and help one another, not take advantage of one another", said state Attorney General Chris Carr.

Irma's track shifted late Friday and early Saturday.

West of Alamance and Chatham counties, a high-wind advisory was posted, and forecasters told residents to expect steady wind at 15 to 25 miles per hour and frequent gusts up to 40 miles per hour. Naples, Fort Myers and Tampa are now expected to bear the brunt of the storm.

A coastal storm surge of 1-3 feet is expected, they said. However, this doesn't mean they are out of the woods and won't experience any effects from the storm.

At 8 a.m. Monday, the National Weather Service downgraded Irma to a tropical storm, but warned the storm is still producing gusts of near-hurricane-force winds.

Atlanta; Knoxville, Tennessee; and Charlotte, North Carolina, could endure wind gusts to tropical storm strength.

With millions evacuating northward from Florida and Irma's path adding another challenge, officials didn't have a flawless answer for evacuees. Coastal flooding is possible during high tide. But Weather Service forecasters are growing more confident.

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