Published: 2018-09-14 04:25:00
Updated: 2018-09-16 10:38:27
Posted September 14, 2018 4:25 a.m. EDT
Updated September 16, 2018 10:38 a.m. EDT
Hurricane Florence made landfall near Wrightsville Beach around 7:15 a.m. Friday as a Category 1 storm.
3:38 a.m.: A phone system outage is preventing inbound calls to New Hanover Regional Medical Center. The hospital has activated a special phone line at 910-343-3187 that can be used by patients and patients' family members.
3:19 a.m.: More than 777,000 people are without power in North Carolina as Tropical Storm Florence continues its slow movement across the state.
3:07 a.m.: A boil water advisory has been issued for Carolina Beach residents as power outages have led to low pressure and outages in the water distribution system.
When water is restored, customers should boil all water used for drinking, cooking or brushing teeth.
3:03 a.m.: More than 16 inches of rain fell in some eastern parts of the state over the last 24 hours and Florence will continue to dump rain over the state for several days.
Although some of the severe rain bands were tapering off in Wake County, things are still not going to dry out.
"Plenty of rainfall going on with this system and that will continue to add up, especially over the southern parts of teh viewing area," WRAL meteorologist Mike Moss said.
Florence had sustained winds of 60 mph and was moving southwest at 5 mph. Wind speeds associated with the storm should drop to about 40 mph by Saturday night, Moss said.
2:53 a.m.: Around Raleigh, there is standing water on many roads and traffic signals are out, making travel difficult.
1:56 a.m.: Flash flood warnings have been extended until 11 a.m. Saturday for Wake, Johnston, Wilson, Sampson and Wayne counties.
1:44 a.m.:772,421 customers across the state still remain without power, state officials said.
1:38 a.m.: A man was pinned in his bed after a tree fell on his home on Farm Ridge Road early Saturday morning. Authorities said the man was conscious when he was rescued, and other people inside the home made it out safely.
1:20 a.m.: Conditions in Goldsboro are continuing to deteriorate as roads became flooded.
1:06 a.m.: More than 775,000 customers are without power across the state as Florence continues to bring heavy rain and strong winds.
12:08 a.m.:State officials said 773,903 are now without power, up from 756,000 less than one hour ago.
12:05 a.m.: Although the center of Florence is now in South Carolina, the majority of rain bands associated with the storm are still impacting North Carolina, WRAL meteorologist Mike Maze said.
As the storm continues to move, rain will continue to impact the state and up to 40 inches of rain are still possible in some locations, Maze said.
12:04 a.m.: A large tree knocked down by Tropical Storm Florence was blocking Wellons-Boyette Road just outside Princeton.
11:59 p.m.: A flash flood warning has been issued for Wake, WIlson, Wayne, Sampson, Johnston, Moore, Hoke, Harnett and Cumberland counties until 3 a.m.
11:51 p.m.: The number of statewide power outages is continuing to decrease with 756,819 people without power across the state.
11:25 p.m.: The number of people without power across the state is continuing to decrease with 767,783 in the dark.
11:20 p.m. A tornado warning for Duplin and Lenoir counties has been extended until midnight.
11:03 a.m.: An update from the National Hurricane Center shows that Tropical Storm Florence shows the storm has sustained winds of 65 mph and is moving at 5 mph. The center of the storm is located 15 miles northwest of Myrtle Beach.
10:51 p.m.: The center of Tropical Storm Florence is over South Carolina, but rain bands associated with the storm were still hammering parts of southern Wayne, Johnston and Harnett counties. Rain bands associated with the storm were even stretching into parts of Raleigh.
WRAL meteorologist Mike Maze said Raleigh was seeing sustained wind speeds of 18 mph, with gusts of 29 mph, while Fayetteville was seeing sustained winds of 30 mph with gusts of 45 mph.
10:48 p.m.: United Healthcare announced $1 million would be donated to help North Carolina residents rebuild after Florence. The company will also mobilize care and delivery assets, mobile clinics, prescription drug donations and an emotional support line.
10:47 p.m.: Lee County said a curfew will be lifted during daylight hours Saturday, but will be reinstated from 9 p.m. Saturday to 6 a.m. Sunday.
10:33 p.m.: The tornado warning for Duplin and Lenoir counties has been extended until 11:15 p.m.
10:31: A tornado warning has been canceled for Wayne County.
10:24 p.m.: The number of people without power has decreased slightly, but 7,88,916 customers still remain in the dark.
10:23: Another tornado warning has been issued for Wayne County. The warning remains in effect until 10:50 p.m.
9:46 p.m.: A tornado warning for Duplin and Lenoir counties has been extended to 10:30 p.m. while a tornado warning for Wayne County has been allowed to expire.
9:40 p.m.: Wayne County Emergency Management officials said the Willow Creek Nursing home in Goldsboro was evacuated as a result of Florence.
9:23 p.m.: A tornado warning has been issued for southern portions of Wayne County until 9:45 p.m.
9:20 p.m.: Power outages continue to climb across the state, with officials reporting 791,968 are without power.
9:13 p.m.: A tornado warning has been issued for Duplin and Lenoir counties after rotation was spotted 9 miles southwest of Kinston, moving northwest at 40 mph. The warning is in effect until 9:30 p.m.
8:49 p.m.: State officials said that 781,335 people are without power across the state as a result of Florence.
8:45 p.m.: Johnston County Emergency Services said authorities have responded to 87 reports of trees across roads, 33 reports of additional downed trees and 50 downed power lines in the county.
Officials said eight roads are currently flooded: N.C. Highway 242 near Benson, N.C. Highway 96 near Benson, Devils Racetrack Road near Four Oaks, Beasley Road near Benson, Richardson Bridge Road near Smithfield, Stephenson Road near Benson, Stezen's Chapel Road near Smithfield and Red House Road near Smithfield.
8:12 p.m.: Fayetteville officials said Cumberland County's Florence information line and all phones in the Emergency Operations Center and Joint Information Center are down. The county's webpage and email are also offline, officials said.
The Cumberland County 911 center is operating as normal, but residents are advised to only call 911 in the event of a real emergency.
Power was out at the Mac Williams Middle School and W.T. Brown Elementary School shelters and the airport will remain closed until further notice because of a power outage.
8:10 p.m.: WRAL meteorologist MIke Maze said Morehead City has seen more than 15 inches of rain and Goldsboro has seen 11 inches of rain.
Maze said rain won't end in the region until Saturday night of Sunday.
Florence, which is now a tropical storm, is expected to lose strength overnight and will have sustained winds of 50 mph by Saturday as it continues to move into South Carolina.
7:46 p.m.: New Bern officials said that more than 360 people have been rescued from floods and another 140 [eople are awaiting help.
A curfew remains in effect for the city until 7 a.m. Sunday and residents wishing to return to their homes may be asked to show proof of residency through two forms of identification.
7:36 p.m.: Officials said about 771,600 customers across the state were without power. Officials estimate that as many as 2.5 million could eventually be without power as a result of the storm.
7:34 p.m.: More than 22,600 people are staying in 150 shelters across the state and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill will open a mass shelter on campus Saturday.
Gov. Roy Cooper has signed an executive order to help get temporary housing, generators and truck to impacted parts of the state quickly.
7:23 p.m.: WRAL Meteorologist Mike Maze said the center of Florence is beginning to push into South Carolina and is continuing to move at 3 mph.Heavy rain bands associated with the storm will continue to impact Wake and Johnston county as well as the southern counties.
7:18 p.m.: Residents and essential personnel will be allowed to return to the Outer Banks beginning Saturday at 7 a.m. and visitors will be allowed to return Sunday at 7 a.m.
7:02 p.m.: A 78-year-old man was found dead at a home in Lenoir County on Friday morning. Authorities believe he was checking on his dogs outside when he was blown down by the wind.
6:51: A flash flood emergency has been issued for Wayne and Johnston Counties, where 10 inches of rain is expected to fall. The heaviest rain so far has been in Princeton.
6:37 p.m.: Raleigh-Durham Internal Airport said most airlines are planning to resume service Saturday, although travelers are asked to verify their flight with the carrier before arrival. Currently, about 71 of 400 flights scheduled for Saturday have been canceled.
American, United and Delta Airlines will open their ticket counters at 3:30 a.m.. American said scattered cancelations are expected throughout Saturday while Delta plans to operate on a near normal schedule. United said normal operations are expected Saturday.
JetBlue will open its ticket counter at 6:15 a.m., with scattered cancelations throughout the day, and Southwest will open its ticket counter at 8 a.m.
6:32 p.m.: State officials said 726,500 people are without power across the state.
A mandatory curfew will be in place for Spring Lake residents from 7 a.m. until further notice.
5:10 p.m.: Roads are impassible in Atlantic and Topsail beaches and bridges to Oak Island closed after wind and rain of Hurricane Florence.
Travel in those communities is too dangerous for any widespread assessment of the damage to homes or businesses. There is a curfew in effect for Oak Island until Sunday morning at 6 a.m.
Atlantic Beach posted video to Facebook of flooded roads, noting that it could be days before people are allowed back on the roads.
4:30 p.m.: FEMA's biggest worry for the Carolinas after Hurricane Florence is the days and possibly weeks of flooding that will result from the triple threat of storm surge, heavy, steady rain and river flooding, NOAA-NHC spokesman Steve Goldstein said Friday afternoon in a conference call.
Rivers in North and South Carolina are expected to peak well above flood stage into the coming week. Communities at risk include those in the northeast Cape Fear river basin, the Pamlico and Neuse river basins and the Lumber River basin, as well as the Waccamaw and Peedee rivers in South Carolina.
Those rivers could remain above flood stage for “several weeks,” Goldstein said, a combination of the slow speed of the storm and its U-shaped forecast path.
Should the storm take the forecast northeast turn and dump rain on the western North Carolina mountains, there is the additional risk of mudslides and landslides, Goldstein said.
4:09 p.m.: President Donald Trump is expected to tour hurricane-damaged areas of North and South Carolina next week.
"The president is expected to travel to areas affected by the storm early to middle of next week, once it is determined his travel will not disrupt and rescue or recovery efforts," a White House spokesperson told NBC News.
4:05 p.m.: Tropical storm-force winds of 50 to 60 mph are battering Emerald Isle. The town has recorded more than 11 inches of rainfall over the past 24 hours, and more rain is on the way.
Power is out across the island, and no timetable was set for its restoration.
A few homes had wind damage to shingles, windows and doors, and many homes had some degree of flooding, according to the town website.
3:52 p.m.: Officials in New Hanover County said five shelters remain open, and 530 people are being housed there.About 160,000 people were without power in the county. The new total for the state was 615,000.
3:40 p.m.: "We are expecting several more days of rain," said Gov. Cooper. "Our focus now is getting people away from immediate danger. And then it will shift to putting our communities back together."
The press release from the governor's office provided other surprising facts about the storm. In some areas, Hurricane Florence will bring 1,000-year rainfall totals.
Across the state, more than 65 school systems are closed. More than 2,800 National Guard soldiers are working to preserve life and safety and improve conditions.
3:15 p.m.: A fourth person was killed in Lenoir County while plugging in a generator, a press release from the governor's office confirmed.
Twenty-one roads were closed in 12 counties at 10 a.m. Friday, according to the N.C. Department of Transportation, and flood waters will cause that number to grow. Major road closures include Interstate 40 in Duplin County, N.C. Highway 12 in Dare, Hyde and Carteret counties, N.C. 130 in Brunswick County, N.C. 55 in Craven and Pamlico counties and N.C. 904 in Brunswick County.
Hurricane Florence began pounding the Outer Banks Thursday before affecting the southeast corner of North Carolina on Friday morning. By early Friday afternoon, the storm was affecting central North Carolina as it moved closer to South Carolina.
2:58 p.m.: A woman in Pender County had a heart attack Friday morning, and emergency personnel were unable to reach her in time. According to the county emergency management, the woman was able to call 911, but a front loader clearing debris along the route was damaged by a falling tree, blocking access to her home.
In Wilmington, police said a mother and her infant child were killed when a tree fell on their Mercer Avenue home. The child's father was also injured and was being treated at North Hanover Regional Medical Center. The mother and 8-month-old were not alive when crews removed them from the home, officials said.
2:34 p.m.: A portion of Emerald Isle is, essentially, underwater. A viewer shared a photo of flooding in Salter Path near Willis Seafood.
"The town has recorded in excess of 11 inches of rain," EI officials said in a press release. "Power is out everywhere, and it is likely to be several days before it is restored."
In New Bern, crews have been rescuing people from flooded homes all day.
2:11 p.m.: Dozens of trees are down in Wilmington "as far as they eye can see." Rainfall over the past several days has left the soil in Wilmington moist, contributing to the falling trees. Many of the trees that fell are large, old trees, and veteran hurricane reporter Amanda Lamb said the damage and wind gusts in Wilmington are some of the worst she has been in.
In Myrtle Beach, Bryan Mims is being pounded with rain as Hurricane Florence approaches the Grand Strand. Trees are down along King Highway, and the usually-packed tourist destination is a ghost town.
1:57 p.m.: Pictures of the Bogue Inlet Fishing Pier in Emerald Isle show chunks missing.
1:55 p.m.: The new number of outages statewide is more than 604,000.
1:18 p.m.: Winds have ripped the roof off of a mobile home in Clayton.
1:02 p.m.: A Kinston shelter has been evacuated due to power issues and safety concerns, according to police. People taking shelter are being transferred to Lenoir Community College.
12:40 p.m.: The statewide power outage now affects more than 557,000 customers.
12:20 p.m.: Less than 8 hours before the storm is expected to enter South Carolina, Myrtle Beach's main tourist strip is deserted. The stoplights are out on Ocean Boulevard, and the road is empty.
12:09 p.m.: The studios of WCTI in New Bern are flooded. According to a reporter there, this is the first time the building has flooded since it was built in the 1950s.
12:06 p.m.: The wind and rain has started slowing in Wilmington as Florence moves toward South Carolina. Rain and winds will continue throughout the weekend.
12:04 p.m.: The Tar River may be out of the woods when it comes to flooding, Gardner said, as flooding is more of a concern to the south at this point. People who live near the Cape Fear River are asked to consider a voluntary evacuation.
11:42 a.m.: A tornado touched down in Bertie County at 10:30 a.m. Damages were reported but no injuries.
11:30 a.m.: The National Weather Service has issued a flood warning for the Cape Fear River with “confidence increasing in potentially catastrophic flooding in the Sandhills and the southern Coastal Plain.” A voluntary evacuation is recommended to people who live in close proximity to the river.
11:21 a.m.: South Carolina is beginning to feel the impact of Florence. Elizabeth Gardner said Florence could be in Myrtle Beach by 8 p.m.
11 a.m.: "To those in the storm's path, if you can hear me, please stay sheltered. Do not go out in this storm," said Gov. Roy Cooper during a briefing on Hurricane Florence.
The governor also stated that the Lumber and Cape Fear rivers are expected to crest even higher than they did following Hurricane Matthew in 2016.
"Remember, rivers will keep rising for days even if the rain stops," he said. "Pay attention to evacuations and leave if you are told to."
10:45 a.m.: Streets in New Bern are impassable due to downed trees. On one street, the Neuse River could be seen overflowing onto the street.
10:27 a.m.: A crew from the National Guard is rescuing a family from a flooded home in New Bern.
10:23 a.m.: Atlantic Beach and Morehead City are seeing significant flooding and damage to buildings.
10:08 a.m.: Winds recorded at 105 mph at the Wilmington airport are the strongest winds ever on record. Wilmington and Brunswick County communities like Bolivia and Oak Island have seen rainfall up to 8 inches.
9:56 a.m.: The Outer Banks is relatively calm Friday morning as Florence targets other areas. A resident in Carteret County posted photos of significant flooding on Facebook.
9:16 a.m.: The popular Bogue Inlet Pier in Emerald Isle has suffered some damage.
8:04 a.m.: The statewide power outage has jumped to 403,000.
7:58 a.m.: WECT tweeted a photo of a gas station that was severely damaged in Wilmington.
7:39 a.m.: Closer to home, the Tar River in Greenville is close to flooding. Officials say the flood stage for the river is 13 feet, and it is currently past 9 feet and rising steadily. Tranters Creek near Washington, North Carolina is experiencing minor flooding, and the town is suffering as a result.
7:26 a.m.: Wilmington is experiencing its highest wind speeds since 1960. That’s greater than Floyd and Fran.
7:15 a.m.: The storm officially made landfall in Wilmington at 7:15 a.m.
6:54 a.m.: Storm surge (the rising of the sea) in Wilmington is up to 3 feet, but major flooding has not yet been reported there. New Bern is experiencing some of the worst flooding due to overflow from the Pamlico River. The eyewall of the storm is spinning on the coast near Topsail Island, but the National Hurricane Center has not confirmed that center of the eye has made landfall.
6:32 a.m.: The statewide power outage is now at more than 340,000. Crews from Greenville are traveling to New Bern to assist crews with more than 100 rescues.
6:10 a.m.: Wilmington will deal with the storm's eyewall for several hours as the storm slowly moves onshore. Amanda Lamb is in Wilmington and reported that large pieces of sheet metal were flying through the air and car alarms were sounding. Wilmington is currently experiencing winds at 85 mph. The top winds from the storm were recorded at 106 mph in Cape Lookout.
5:55 a.m.: Hurricane Florence is expected to make landfall near Topsail Beach.
5:53 a.m.: A household in New Bern has tweeted that they need help. They are stuck in their attic and their home is flooded. They are among dozens waiting on crews.
5:44 a.m.: Officials in New Bern said crews have been working to rescue at least 200 people overnight. There are about 150 people waiting to be rescued.
5:23 a.m.: About 70 occupants have been evacuated from a hotel in Jacksonville, North Carolina after hurricane force winds threatened the structural integrity of the building. The group, which included an infant, children and pets, have been taken to the Jacksonville Center for Public Safety after portions of the roof collapsed. No one was injured.
5:16 a.m.: The Outer Banks is now in better shape, but Wilmington is being pounded with rain and winds as the center of the storm gets closer to making landfall.
5:09 a.m.: WRAL reporter Amanda Lamb was barely able to keep her balance in Wilmington while standing outside in 70 mph winds.
5 a.m.: The latest update from the National Hurricane Center shows little change to Florence's path or strength. The Category 1 storm has maximum sustained winds of 90 mph and is moving slowly, at 6 mph.
4:37 a.m.: A whopping 280,000 customers are without power in North Carolina. The highest numbers are being reported in New Hanover County.
4:13 a.m.: We will get an updated look at Florence's projected path at 5 a.m.
4 a.m.: Twenty-eight roads are closed in New Hanover County due to flooding, and power outages are widespread. In Craven County, New Bern's mayor says the town has seen historic flooding, with as much as 10 feet of water reported in some places. Highway 12 is still closed in Dare County. The road closed Thursday afternoon when it flooded 15 hours before Florence was expected to make landfall.