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Hurricane Matthew expected to impact NC coast Saturday; Wilmington area beaches could be ‘ground zero’

Hurricane Matthew is expected to impact the North Carolina coast on Saturday, according to the latest models from the National Hurricane Center.

The beaches in the Wilmington area could be "ground zero" for the impact Saturday morning, FOX8 MAX Weather Chief Meteorologist Van Denton said on Tuesday afternoon.

Projected path of Hurricane Matthew as of Tuesday at 5 p.m. (WGHP)

Projected path of Hurricane Matthew as of Tuesday at 5 p.m. (WGHP)

The 8 p.m. update from the National Hurricane Center shows Hurricane Matthew's track puts North and South Carolina near the middle of the cone projection. The storm's path could be reminiscent of Hurricane Floyd in 1999 — which required the evacuation of 2.6 million people across five states.

On Monday, Gov. Pat McCrory declared a state of emergency for 66 counties in North Carolina, including those in the immediate Piedmont Triad area.

Hurricane Matthew pounded western Haiti Tuesday morning, packing powerful winds and heavy rain as it crossed the country.

As of Tuesday at 5 p.m., Matthew, a Category 4 storm, had sustained winds of 140 mph.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott on Monday declared a state of emergency warning residents there could be "massive destruction" if Matthew directly impacts Florida. He urged everyone to start preparing by stocking up on water and food, and by charging cell phones.

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley announced Tuesday afternoon that all coastal communities are being evacuated at least 100 miles inland Wednesday.



The emergency area in North Carolina is Alamance, Anson, Beaufort, Bertie, Bladen, Brunswick, Camden, Carteret, Caswell, Chatham, Chowan, Columbus, Craven, Cumberland, Currituck, Dare, Davidson, Davie, Duplin, Durham, Edgecombe, Forsyth, Franklin, Gates, Granville, Greene, Guilford, Halifax, Harnett, Hertford, Hoke, Hyde, Johnston, Jones, Lee, Lenoir, Martin, Montgomery, Moore, Nash, New Hanover, Northampton, Onslow, Orange, Pamlico, Pasquotank, Pender, Perquimans, Person, Pitt, Randolph, Richmond, Robeson, Rockingham, Sampson, Scotland, Stokes, Surry, Tyrrell, Vance, Wake, Warren, Washington, Wayne, Wilson and Yadkin counties.