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'Do not try to ride it out' Gov. Cooper orders mandatory evacuations for portions of NC coast

Gov. Cooper said North Carolina "is ready" for Dorian with evacuations taking effect Tuesday.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper has issued a mandatory evacuation order for coastal communities ahead of Hurricane Dorian. 

Cooper's mandatory evacuation orders extend from the Barrier Islands to Carolina Beach. Impacted areas include Kure Beach and Wrightsville Beach. 

"It takes time to evacuate the barrier islands so now is the time to act," Cooper said during a news conference Tuesday.  "Start moving well before the storm in order to get to safety.  Do not try to ride it out."

Officials in New Hanover County said a state of emergency will be declared in Wilmington beginning at 5 p.m. Wednesday. Residents in the area will have until 8 p.m. Wednesday to evacuate. 

As off 11 a.m. Tuesday, Dorian has sustained winds of 110 mph and is beginning to turn northwest toward the Carolinas. First Warn chief meteorologist Brad Panovich says the biggest impacts will be felt on the immediate coast, with 4-7 feet of storm surge and 10 inches of rain in some places. 

"We're still hoping this thing will move off to the east, but we know the forecast does bring it very close, if not onto, the North Carolina coast, so we're going to be ready for it," Cooper told reporters Tuesday.

Voluntary evacuations have been issued for low-lying and flood-prone areas. Panovich said areas near the coast that saw devastating flooding from Florence in 2018 could be impacted again, including New Bern and Havelock. 

The entire North Carolina coast is under a Hurricane Watch, while parts of the South Carolina coast, including around Charleston, are under a Hurricane Warning or Tropical Storm Warning. 

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RELATED: Live Blog: Mandatory evacuations issued for North Carolina coast ahead of Hurricane Dorian

Folly Beach, South Carolina will be closed to visitors starting at 4 p.m. Tuesday. A checkpoint will be set up that will only allow residents and property owners into town once the closure takes effect.

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