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New Hanover under State of Emergency; voluntary evacuation strongly encouraged



NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (NHCGOV) -- A State of Emergency is now in effect for all of New Hanover County and voluntary evacuations are strongly encouraged along the beach front and other low lying areas. The current track of Hurricane Irene now shows an earlier arrival than predicted yesterday.

Tropical storm force winds are projected to arrive along the New Hanover County beaches in the early evening hours tonight. Storm surge of 6 to 8 feet on top of normal high tides could cause ocean overwash and flooding conditions. Island residents are likely to lose electricity during the storm making conditions uncomfortable.

Emergency evacuation shelters will open at 3 p.m. Shelters are located at Dorothy B. Johnson Elementary School, 1100 McRae Street in Wilmington. A pet friendly shelter will be open at Noble Middle School 6520 Market Street. Those wishing to seek shelter should bring all necessary items including snacks and prescription medications.

Area officials will continue to monitor the track of Hurricane Irene. An announcement on potential curfews and bridge closings will be made later today.

Hurricane Irene is expected to bring heavy rains to the area. Residents need to make sure their draining ditches have been cleaned and yard items are safely stored.

The New Hanover County Emergency Public Information Center will open at 8 a.m. today to answer questions from the public. The telephone number is (910) 798-6800.

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