Although Florida and Georgia have taken the brunt of Hurricane Michael, Governor Roy Cooper warned residents that North Carolina could see flooding, storm surge, power outages, and tornadoes as the now tropical storm passes through the state today.

“The storm has already begun to lash our battered state with strong winds and heavy rain. I want all North Carolinians to be on alert,” Cooper said at a press conference. “It is still a threat and should be taken seriously.”

The storm struck the Florida Panhandle Wednesday as a category 4 hurricane, devastating coastal communities and killing at least two people. Michael has since been downgraded to a tropical storm with up to 50 mph wind gusts.

Emergency response, including water rescues, has begun in Western N.C., Cooper said. A mudslide was reported in McDowell County. Dozens of school systems have closed.

Cooper cautioned that inland storms can be life-threatening and urged residents to refrain from traveling unless absolutely necessary and avoid driving through standing water.

Wake County has opened an emergency shelter at Southeast Raleigh High School (2600 Rock Quarry Road) that can hold up to 453 people. Residents can bring their pets (constrictor snakes, venomous animals, livestock, and wildlife are not permitted).

“We’re watching out for the welfare and public safety of our residents,” said Wake County spokeswoman Alice Avery.

You can assess your risk of flooding by visiting