Hurricane Florence slams coastal Carolinas, bringing ‘life-threatening’ rainfall, water rescues and structural damage
In Jacksonville, N.C., the Onslow County Emergency Operations Center is ready for Hurricane Florence, with officials working around-the-clock shifts.
Hurricane Florence, though downgraded to a Category 1 storm, continued sweeping across part of the southeastern United States on Friday, bringing powerful winds along with warnings of “life-threatening” storm surge and rainfall, according to the National Hurricane Center. Reports of collapsed roofs and other structures were already reported in the Morehead City and New Bern areas of North Carolina. The large and dangerous storm is expected to lash parts of North and South Carolina on Friday. Follow Hurricane Florence’s path here.
Friday 2:30 A.M.: Intense flooding continues in New Bern as 150 people await rescue.
At 2:00 a.m., Hurricane Florence was located 35 miles east of Wilmington, North Carolina with sustained winds reaching up to 90 miles per hour. As the hurricane continued to slowly make its way over the North Carolina coast, it appeared that the town of New Bern was getting the worst of the flooding.
New Bern city officials announced on Twitter that roughly 150 people are currently awaiting rescue. Two out-of-state FEMA teams are currently assisting with the process and others are on the way to help with the emergency response, the statement said.
A gauge in the Trent River near U.S. Highway 70 in New Bern recorded 9.78 feet of inundation, the highest in the region. At Bogue Sound near North Carolina Highway 58 in Emerald Isle, North Carolina, more than 9 inches of rain had fallen in the past 6 hours, and water levels had risen by over 5 feet.
On MSNBC, New Bern Mayor Dana Outlaw said that as many as 14,000 people in the town currently lack power. There have been “quite a few” water rescues, he said.
Across North Carolina, 185,312 people are currently without power, the state’s department of emergency management said. Carteret, Onslow and Craven counties, which are located on the southeastern coast, have reported the most outages.
In Onslow Bay, waves over 18 feet high were recorded by the National Data Buoy Center.
Earlier in the evening, meteorologists and reporters at NewsChannel 12 in New Bern, North Carolina were evacuated from the station due to rising waters. “When the conditions in the area intensified suddenly, we made the call to have our news staff evacuate the area and team up with our sister station WPDE in Myrtle Beach to continue covering the storm and providing our viewers with vital, potentially life-saving, information,” General Manager Matt Bowman said in a statement.
WRAL reporter Adam Owens captured flood water pouring into the Craven County Emergency Services Building in New Bern, where operations staff and first responders are based during the storm. The emergency operations officials were still operating as normal, he wrote.
Flood water is getting into the Craven County Emergency Services Building in New Bern. Despite that, emergency officials are still able to operate inside. #WRAL #Florence #ncwx
Posted by WRAL Adam Owens on Thursday, September 13, 2018
— Antonia Farzan
Friday 1:20 a.m.:
As Hurricane Florence continues to batter coastal North Carolina, local communities are already reporting rescues as water levels continue to climb. On Facebook, the City of New Bern announced early Friday local police and fire and rescue teams are currently “conducting high water rescues throughout the city.”
The city also announced Trent Park Elementary School is serving as a location for “those needing to get evacuated.”
According to an update from the National Weather Service at 1:00 am, a gauge on the Neuse River at New Bern recently measured 10.1 feet of inundation. The new reading indicates a rise over the course of the night: at 12:00 am, the NWS reported 9.6 feet of inundation at New Bern.
— Kyle Swenson
Friday 12:30 a.m.: Intense flooding threatens the Carolina coast.
By midnight, areas of coastal North Carolina were experiencing life-threatening storm surge, the National Weather Service said. Multiple flash flood warnings were in place, affecting the cities of Wilmington and Rocky Point as well as communities along the state’s southeastern coast.
Sustained winds of 71 mph and gusts up to 87 mph have been recorded at Cape Lookout, North Carolina. Water levels along the Neuse River in New Bern have risen by nearly 10 feet.