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Wilson could see wind, rain from Irma despite westward path

While Hurricane Irma — with the strength reaching Category 5 on the Saffir–Simpson hurricane wind scale as it plowed through the Bahamas — has dominated headlines following the devastation of Hurricane Harvey, there are two other hurricanes in the Atlantic basin. Sharp said Hurricane Katia is forecast to hit parts of Mexico this weekend while Hurricane Jose likely will mimic the turn of Hurricane Irma, but affect Bermuda more than the United States.

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Latest forecasts put Hurricane Irma’s path to the west, but officials are urging residents to continue storm preparations.

“We should still maintain our vigilance because it has not made that turn to the north, which is expected late Saturday night,” said meteorologist Scott Sharp with the National Weather Service in Raleigh. “We need to keep our guard up until she shows her hand and we see her turn.”

Earlier forecasts had residents in eastern North Carolina preparing for several inches of rain and heavy winds. Sharp said while the path is anticipated to be further inland, Wilson likely will still be affected.

“The Wilson County area will be on the eastern fringes of Irma, so while there is some pretty nice weather this weekend, gustier winds will start on Sunday due to an area of high pressure to the northeast and Irma to the south,” he said. “There will be fairly gusty winds of 20 to 25 mph Sunday afternoon that will continue into the night and into Monday, then it will be pick up to 30 to 33 mph Monday night into early Tuesday.”

He said Wilson likely will get between a half-inch and an inch of rain before Irma is through.

While the recent forecasts bode well for locals, those with family members in Florida should not rest easy as Irma is expected to wreak havoc this weekend.

“It could be catastrophic through Florida with a devastating storm surge expected on the Atlantic and Gulf coasts,” he said.

While hurricane season continues through the end of November, September and October have traditionally been the height of hurricanes locally. September is National Preparedness Month and officials urged residents to take the opportunity to assemble emergency supplies and review procedures to stay in touch with loved ones in the event of a disaster. For more information on how to prepare, visit readync.org/.

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