As Hurricane Dorian nears the North Carolina coast, shelters across the eastern part of the state are preparing for evacuees from coastal communities where the Governor ordered a mandatory evacuation.
At the Northgate Mall in Durham, state officials have turned a former Sears department store into a hurricane shelter. The group had set up more than 500 beds before noon and said it could add another 500 if needed.
Sandy Bridges is the incident commander at the shelter. She says the site is ready to go.
"So this shelter is set up to be able to have mental health services, we are hoping to get some childcare activities on site, we also will have basic medical."
In addition to shelter, and medical care, evacuees will receive food, and have access to trailers with restrooms and showers.
The site is also supported by other groups, like the N.C. National Guard and the American Red Cross.
Barry Porter is the regional Director for the American Red Cross and says the Durham shelter is one of many.
"This is an overflow shelter that's going to be replicated, 40, 50 times across eastern North Carolina for residents as they seek shelter and safety from Hurricane Dorian," Porter said.
The shelter is prepared to accommodate pets, as well. Governor Roy Cooper says a second statewide shelter may also be opened at the Friday Center in Chapel Hill, if needed.