The latest update from the National Hurricane Center, released at 11 a.m. Wednesday, shows Hurricane Matthew slowing and moving even further off the North Carolina coast.
"We got some good news," Gov. Pat McCrory said during a press conference Wednesday morning. "The North Carolina impact is much, much less."
McCrory said residents still need to keep their guard up - "Models can change at a moment's notice."
"My goal is to be overprepared and underwhelmed," he said.
Models show Matthew is expected to strengthen to Category 4 as it heads into warm Bahamian waters within the next 24 hours, before exiting the Bahamas Thursday night. The storm is expected to continue its track north and head toward Florida.
Bahama’s prime minister, Perry Christie, told Bahamians to prepare for a “worst case scenario’’ as the hurricane is expected to assault every island in the region. All airports were closed Wednesday. New Providence, the country’s most populated island, is predicted to get a direct hit, he said.
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 and eastern Cuba Tuesday, packing powerful winds and heavy rain.
On Tuesday evening Hyde County issued a mandatory evacuation for Ocracoke Island.
South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley announced Tuesday afternoon that all coastal communities are being evacuated at least 100 miles inland Wednesday.
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.