The North Carolina Department of Public Safety reported this morning nearly 500,000 power outages from Hurricane Florence as the storm surge inundated coastal towns and river inlets.
More than 2,800 North Carolina National Guard troops have been deployed and more than 100 swift-water rescues have already been reported since the storm made landfall early today.
“Currently ~150 awaiting rescue in New Bern. We have 2 out-of-state FEMA teams here for swift water rescue. More are on the way to help us. WE ARE COMING TO GET YOU. You may need to move up to the second story, or to your attic, but WE ARE COMING TO GET YOU,” tweeted the city of New Bern, N.C.
City of New Bern just sent this image out showing what areas of town are flooded. I also added map with river where it should be to give you perspective. pic.twitter.com/G5VAmJu7uX
— Bill Karins (@BillKarins) September 14, 2018
According to the National Hurricane Center, a slow westward to west-southwestward motion of the storm is expected today through Saturday. The center of Florence will move further inland across extreme southeastern North Carolina and extreme eastern South Carolina today and Saturday. Florence will then move generally northward across the western Carolinas and the central Appalachian Mountains early next week.
Maximum sustained winds remain near 90 mph with higher gusts. Gradual weakening is forecast later today and tonight. Significant weakening is expected over the weekend and into early next week while Florence moves farther inland.
Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 80 miles from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 195 miles. A wind gust to 105 mph recently occurred at the Wilmington Airport, an amateur radio operator in Kirkland recently reported a wind gust to 98 mph, and a wind gust of 95 mph was also recently reported by a Weatherflow private weather station at Federal Point.
An additional 20 to 25 inches, with isolated storm totals of 30 to 40 inches, of rain is forecast and expected to produce catastrophic flash flooding and prolonged significant river flooding.
“Surviving this storm will be a test of endurance, teamwork, common sense, and patience,” North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper said. “Thank you to those who evacuated and prepared. To anyone still unwilling to take this seriously, let me be clear: you need to get yourself to a safe place now and stay there.”