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Floyd Brings Rain, Flooding to North Carolina; High Winds Head East

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RALEIGH — A slightly weaker Floyd is making landfall at Cape Fear. More than 170,000 people in North and South Carolina are currently without power, while 54,000 people in the Triangle are facing the storm in the dark.

The current forecast takes the storm to the east toward Cape Fear and away from central North Carolina.

Listen to Mike Maze's 3 a.m. Hurricane Floyd forecast.

Floyd has brought heavy rain and flooding to the state, particularly along I-95 from Rocky Mount to Bladen County.

The center of circulation is currently near Southport, moving to the northeast of Bald Head Island.

Wrightsville Beach, Kure Beach, and Topsail Beach are being hammered, with Floyd hanging out along the coastline, perhaps gaining strength while over water then heading northeast and inland to Onslow County later this morning.

Raleigh-Durham International Airportreported wind gusts of 35 mph Wednesday. In Fayetteville, there was a gust of 56 mph reported at 3 a.m. Wilmington reported 54 mph sustained winds and gusts of 70 mph.

Hurricane-force winds are extending about 125 miles from the eye of the storm. The majority of the winds are blowing off-shore.

But as the center of circulation moves toward Onslow, Carteret and Craven Counties, that area will feel the effects, as will the Outer Banks.

Through 9 a.m., the Triangle will see 20-30 mph winds with gusts to 60, and constant rain. After that, the winds will subside. By Thursday afternoon, the Triangle could see some sunshine.

A hurricanewarningis in effect for the North Carolina coast.

High windwarningsare in effect from the Triangle and Fayetteville areas and eastward.

A flash flood warning is in effect for central North Carolina, and a flash floodwatchis in effect for most of the viewing area. Many rivers in the area could crest more than 10 feet above flood level.

A tornado watch is also in effect in the eastern part of the state until 9 a.m. Thursday.

A tornado was reported on the western end of Emerald Isle. One home was destroyed, but no injuries were reported.

President Bill Clinton has declared 67 North Carolina counties as federal disaster areas.


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