- Associated Press - Thursday, October 1, 2015

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - The latest on severe weather in North Carolina. All times local:

5:25 p.m.

The current calm before an approaching storm is a good time to think about preparing and protecting important family documents.

Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin says with the double threat of heavy rain and the approach of Hurricane Joaquin (wah-KEEN’), it’s smart to collect important documents and make an inventory of personal belongings in case there’s a need to file insurance claims later.

Insurance officials say it’s important to gather copies of insurance policies, medical records and prescriptions and bring them with you if evacuation is necessary. Take photos and shoot video of household, collect purchase receipts and store them in a safe-deposit box or other safe place away. Another option is emailing the data to yourself or others.

Move vehicles into a garage or park them away from trees. Cover windows with storm shutters, siding or plywood. Move patio furniture, grills and potted plants indoors to prevent outdoor items from becoming projectiles when the wind picks up.

4:25 p.m.

One person has died and another was hurt in a wreck on Interstate-95 northeast of Fayetteville and the North Carolina Highway Patrol says the death may be weather related.

Lt. Jeff Gordon two vehicles were traveling south near Godwin around 1:30 p.m. when a tree fell across the road, hitting both vehicles.

Gordon says the passenger in one of the vehicles died. The victim’s name has not been released.

Gordon says the driver of the car was taken to Cape Fear Regional Medical Center for treatment. There was no immediate word on the driver’s condition.

The driver of the second vehicle was not hurt.

Gordon said the death was “potentially” weather related. He said the area has had a lot of rain in the past several days.

The National Weather Service reported light rain and winds of about 10 mph at Fayetteville around the time of the wreck.

4:10 p.m.

One person has died in a wreck on Interstate 95 northeast of Fayetteville and the North Carolina Highway Patrol says the death may be weather related.

Lt. Jeff Gordon says a tree fell on a car traveling south near Godwin shortly before 2 p.m. Thursday.

Gordon says the passenger in the vehicle died. The victim’s name has not been released.

Gordon says the death was “potentially” weather related, pointing out that the area has had a lot rain for the past several days.

The National Weather Service reported light rain and winds of about 10 mph at Fayetteville around the time of the wreck.

Gordon says troopers are still investigating.

3:55 p.m.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says driving conditions on fragile Hatteras Island are worsening by the hour.

The only road on and off the 50-mile-long island passes through 12 miles of the uninhabited Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge. The federal agency expects seawater to cover North Carolina Highway 12 based on current forecasts. The agency closed the visitor center at the wildlife refuge at noon Thursday to prepare the building for the storm.

The National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center on nearby Roanoke Island will remain open Friday, including the scheduled preschool program, unless county officials call for a mandatory evacuation.

3:15 p.m.

Hyde County officials have ordered an evacuation of Ocracoke Island on North Carolina’s Outer Banks as Hurricane Joaquin approaches.

The Hyde County Board of Commissioners voted at an emergency meeting Thursday to ask residents to leave. They say anyone who stays does so at their own risk and should be prepared to endure several days in which there could be flooding, loss of power and an inability to get off the island.

Officials urged people who want to leave to do so as soon as possible because rising water levels may make it difficult for the ferries to access loading docks.

An emergency shelter will be opening at Englewood Baptist Church in Rocky Mount on the mainland. It will have showers and food available, along with space for pets.

1:05 p.m.

Gov. Pat McCrory is declaring an emergency for all of North Carolina as rain and wind from Hurricane Joaquin threatens to hit the state following days of soaking rain for much of the state.

McCrory says there are no evacuation orders. He says his declaration allows exceptions to weight and time restrictions on trucks while also giving him added authority to respond to trouble.

The governor says the added rain from Joaquin could result in deadly flooding for a state that is nearly entirely under flood watches.

McCrory says Outer Banks towns are facing especial risks because rain there has been coming nearly nonstop for a week followed by a weekend nor’easter that’s chewed up protective sand dunes. The governor says the falling rain and storm-pushed tides have caused water to collect on Outer Banks roads with nowhere to do.

McCrory says up to 10 inches of rain could fall in parts of the state’s western mountains and foothills, and that water pouring downhill could cause damage to communities there.

11:30 a.m.

North Carolina officials are advising the state’s commercial fishing fleet to batten down their vessels and pull their fishing gear out of the water ahead of the possible effects of Hurricane Joaquin.

The Division of Marine Fisheries said Thursday it was probable that the storm would roil North Carolina waters in the coming days.

The agency says fishermen should remove crab pots, gill nets and other gear from the water before they are damaged or ripped loose from their locations. The agency also advises boat owners to check their safety equipment to make sure it’s working and either remove their vessels from the water or move them to safe harbor.

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