Gov. Roy Cooper declared a state of emergency effective at 8 a.m. Thursday for the entire state in preparation for Hurricane Irma.

The declaration frees up resources in preparation for what Cooper called a "powerful storm" that could wreak havoc, depending on its intensity and path, a course that will be more defined in the coming days as heads toward the Florida coast.

"Irma is a powerful storm, and it is expected to remain strong during the coming days," Cooper said during a 5:30 p.m. Wednesday news conference. "You need to take this storm seriously, and you need to start preparing for some type of impact."

Cooper asked North Carolinians to prepare emergency supply kits and to keep a watchful eye on weather reports as the path of the major hurricane becomes more defined.

"We're still five days or so away from feeling the impacts of Hurricane Irma, but it is not too soon to get ready," Cooper said. "There's a lot that we don't know about this storm, but we do know that North Carolina can expect to feel some type of impact from this storm as early as next week, and now is the time for people to get prepared."

Hurricane Irma, a major Category 5 hurricane packing sustained winds in excess of 185 mph, is the strongest Atlantic tropical storm system on record.

Some areas of the state could start to experience adverse weather from the hurricane Monday through Wednesday, with the potential for earlier impacts on Sunday, Cooper said.

State agencies, including emergency management, are making preparations and coordinating with local emergency management agencies to ensure staff and resources are ready, Cooper said.

State officials are also communicating with the Federal Emergency Management Agency and neighboring states for potential resources.

"Our state is preparing for the storm," Cooper said. "In short, the state is doing what we want the people of North Carolina to do and that is get ready for Hurricane Irma."

Cooper said residents should prepare an emergency supply kit and make plans for family members, businesses and pets. Residents also need to check on potential evacuation routes prior to the storm.

A website -- readync.org -- is available with information on ways to prepare and an app is also available, Cooper said.

The governor's state of emergency declaration facilitates the movement of any resources needed to respond to the storm and waives truck weight, size and hours-of-service restrictions so supply vehicles can move quickly, according to the governor's office.

"This helps us to move resources into places that we need it, such as food, medicine and fuel," Cooper said.

Preparations started during the Labor Day weekend with county partners, state agencies as well as officials in South Carolina and Virginia, according to the governor's office.

State officials have requested a FEMA incident management team to expedite any federal assets that may be needed to respond to the storm.

State transportation officials have also placed crews on standby and have been preparing equipment and checking culverts to remove debris that may clog drainage pipes.

Gov. Roy Cooper declared a state of emergency effective at 8 a.m. Thursday for the entire state in preparation for Hurricane Irma.

The declaration frees up resources in preparation for what Cooper called a "powerful storm" that could wreak havoc, depending on its intensity and path, a course that will be more defined in the coming days as heads toward the Florida coast.

"Irma is a powerful storm, and it is expected to remain strong during the coming days," Cooper said during a 5:30 p.m. Wednesday news conference. "You need to take this storm seriously, and you need to start preparing for some type of impact."

Cooper asked North Carolinians to prepare emergency supply kits and to keep a watchful eye on weather reports as the path of the major hurricane becomes more defined.

"We're still five days or so away from feeling the impacts of Hurricane Irma, but it is not too soon to get ready," Cooper said. "There's a lot that we don't know about this storm, but we do know that North Carolina can expect to feel some type of impact from this storm as early as next week, and now is the time for people to get prepared."

Hurricane Irma, a major Category 5 hurricane packing sustained winds in excess of 185 mph, is the strongest Atlantic tropical storm system on record.

Some areas of the state could start to experience adverse weather from the hurricane Monday through Wednesday, with the potential for earlier impacts on Sunday, Cooper said.

State agencies, including emergency management, are making preparations and coordinating with local emergency management agencies to ensure staff and resources are ready, Cooper said.

State officials are also communicating with the Federal Emergency Management Agency and neighboring states for potential resources.

"Our state is preparing for the storm," Cooper said. "In short, the state is doing what we want the people of North Carolina to do and that is get ready for Hurricane Irma."

Cooper said residents should prepare an emergency supply kit and make plans for family members, businesses and pets. Residents also need to check on potential evacuation routes prior to the storm.

A website -- readync.org -- is available with information on ways to prepare and an app is also available, Cooper said.

The governor's state of emergency declaration facilitates the movement of any resources needed to respond to the storm and waives truck weight, size and hours-of-service restrictions so supply vehicles can move quickly, according to the governor's office.

"This helps us to move resources into places that we need it, such as food, medicine and fuel," Cooper said.

Preparations started during the Labor Day weekend with county partners, state agencies as well as officials in South Carolina and Virginia, according to the governor's office.

State officials have requested a FEMA incident management team to expedite any federal assets that may be needed to respond to the storm.

State transportation officials have also placed crews on standby and have been preparing equipment and checking culverts to remove debris that may clog drainage pipes.