RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – “Hurricane Ian is at our door.”  

That was the message from Gov. Roy Cooper (D) as the storm made landfall in South Carolina Friday afternoon and was already bringing heavy rain and strong winds to North Carolina. 

The governor said emergency management officials have adapted and modified their plans for storm response as Ian’s track has shifted.  

Cooper said the central and eastern parts of the state could see greater impacts than previously thought.  

“One of the things that you learn in emergency management is that you have to be flexible and you have to plan for storm tracks moving from one place to the next. We were looking at this being more of a western North Carolina event a little earlier. The storm has tracked a little bit to the east,” Cooper said. “We expect drenching rain and sustained heavy winds over most of our state. Our message today is simple: be smart and be safe.” 

Emergency Management Director Will Ray said the state has 12 swift water rescue teams at its three regional centers, prepared to go where they’re needed. Dozens of National Guard troops also have been stationed at various locations in the state. 

“While we don’t expect widespread evacuations will be needed during this storm, heavy rain in coastal counties will make flooding a threat,” said Ray. 

The Department of Transportation has 2,200 of its employees prepared to respond to the storm. Sec. Eric Boyette said the agency is also utilizing contractors as it faces challenges with filling positions.  

“Crews are ready and we are prepared. And, we also work with our contracting industry and they’re ready. It is a smaller staff than we’ve seen in the past, but we as an agency always work together with our partners. And, we’re ready to help the citizens of North Carolina get back to where we need to be,” said Sec. Boyette. 

Boyette said road conditions had begun deteriorating early Friday afternoon. Ferry service has been suspended.  

Gov. Cooper urged drivers to stay off the roads, if possible. He reminded people of what happened to DOT employee Anna Bradshaw who was hit and killed last month while cleaning debris on the side of a highway in Wilson County. 

While the ground has been dry in the weeks leading up to the storm, officials said flash flooding remains a concern. 

Cooper said utility crews from other states have come to North Carolina to help with restoring power. As of 5 p.m. Friday, about 100,000 power outages had been reported statewide. At that point, Robeson, Wake and Johnston counties had been the most impacted. 

The governor said North Carolina will also send additional resources to help people in Florida once the storm passes through the Tar Heel State and officials can ensure that they can adequately respond to issues that occur here.