NC Gov: Stay inside if in Irene's path - FOX Carolina 21

NC Gov: Stay inside if in Irene's path

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Waves pound the pier at Surf City, NC, as Hurricane Irene approaches. (Aug. 26, 2011/FOX Carolina) Waves pound the pier at Surf City, NC, as Hurricane Irene approaches. (Aug. 26, 2011/FOX Carolina)
RALEIGH, NC (AP) -

The wind speeds of Hurricane Irene may be abating but Gov. Beverly Perdue said the storm is large and powerful and could do lots of damage before it leaves North Carolina.

Perdue said Friday evening the storm is forecast to bring heavy rains and high winds and stay atop the state for between 12 and 14 hours before leaving late Saturday. Storm surges are expected in the Albemarle and Pamlico sounds even though estimated maximum sustained winds fell to 100 mph.

Perdue thanked people for evacuating the coast and urged those who chose not to leave to stay indoors until the storm departs.

Eighteen coastal and inland counties have issued mandatory or voluntary evacuation orders.

Nearly 300 National Guard service members are now on duty to respond to the storm.

SC sending 3 National Guard choppers to NC

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley has signed an executive order that will allow three National Guard helicopters to work with Hurricane Irene rescue efforts in North Carolina.

Haley signed the executive order Friday activating the National Guard so the helicopters can be used in swift water rescue operations.

Haley also has ordered nine members of the state's urban search and rescue team to help in North Carolina.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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