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Hurricane Florence: Michael Jordan to donate $2M to relief efforts

Charlotte Hornets chairman and NBA basketball legend Michael Jordan, along with the Hornets organization and the NBA, have announced that they’re working together with a number of community organizations to provide relief and support to the people affected by Hurricane Florence.

Jordan is donating $1 million each to The American Red Cross and The Foundation for the Carolinas’ Hurricane Florence Response Fund.

>> On WSOCTV.com: 'We share more than a state line': Panthers, local organizations unite in Florence relief efforts

“It’s truly devastating for me to see the damage that Hurricane Florence is doing to my beloved home state of North Carolina and to the surrounding areas,” Jordan said in a statement.

>> On WSOCTV.com: Floodwaters of Florence put North Carolina dams under stress

The Hornets, in partnership with Food Lion will pack thousands of disaster food boxes Friday at Second Harvest Food Bank of Metrolina. The boxes will be distributed across the Carolinas to provide meals to victims of Florence.

>> Read more trending news 

“The recovery effort will be massive, and it will take a long time to repair the damage and for families to get back on their feet,” said Jordan.

Fans are encouraged to visit here to make a donation.

“To all those affected, stay safe and know that we’re here to help,” Jordan said.

>> Hurricane Florence: Here's how you can help

Hornets and NBA merchandising partner Fanatics, have collaborated to create a T-shirt with the Hornets logo in the middle of North and South Carolina. The shirt features the phrase “Carolina Strong” and all the proceeds will be donated to the Foundation for the Carolinas’ Hurricane Florence Response Fund.

Purchase a T-shirt here.

Hurricane safety: Here’s what to do if your car is swept away by water

Keeping a cool head and remembering these tips may save your life if your vehicle is ever overcome by water. 

According to a 2006 study, as many as 400 people drown in North America in cars that are submerged in water.

Because seconds matter, especially after your car is submerged, it’s important that you stay calm and follow these steps.

Brace for impact

If you know you’re going into a lake or river, it’s important to brace yourself for impact to avoid serious injury before you attempt your escape. 

Keep your hands at “ten and two” on the steering wheel so if the airbag inflates, you will avoid serious injury to your head and extremities.

While your vehicle is floating

Immediately undo your seat belt and then unbuckle any children starting with the oldest child first. Older children can help unbuckle any younger passengers.

Unlock the doors and open windows:

Even though a door is not considered the best way to exit a vehicle until it’s fully submerged, it’s important to unlock them while your electrical system is still functioning.

According to WikiHow, try to open a window right after you enter the water. If your electrical system is not functioning, use an object to break the glass. The headrests in most cars can be removed and the metal inserts may break the glass. Do not attempt to break the windshield because the safety glass is designed to break in a manner that would make it hard to escape through.

Some other suitable objects to break the glass include steering wheel locks, tools, keys or window-breaking tools that are typically hammer-shaped. 

Escape

After taking a deep breath, try to escape through the window. If you have children in the vehicle, push them out first. If they can’t swim, give them an object that floats and tell them not to let go of it.

Swim

As you escape the vehicle, try not to kick in a manner that might injure others escaping. If you’re submerged when you escape, follow the bubbles to the surface.

Get help

Most water can be cold enough that hypothermia can occur even after a short period underwater. Additionally, you may experience shock or injuries from the accident. Once you have reached the edge of the water, seek medical attention immediately.

It’s important to note that while water caused by flooding or storm surge may appear on a known route, motorists should never intentionally drive into high water.

Hurricane safety: Those who have lived through storms offer their advice

Those who live in Florida and other parts of the country that frequently get hurricane warnings know what to do when a storm is bearing down on them. For those who rarely get a mega-storm in their state, those who have been through hurricanes are sharing their expertise via social media

>> Read more trending news 

It’s the little things that you don’t focus on daily. Paperwork like your birth certificate, passport and credit cards needs to be gathered before the storm, according to people who have survived storms. 

>>Read: Building an emergency disaster kit can be easy and cheap, here's how

Other people added their comments to the post, suggesting items like a hand-crank transistor radio to stay connected. Others still suggested getting cash now instead of waiting until after the stormwaters recede.

Those on social media may be onto something. 

>>Read: Family emergency supply kit must-haves

The National Hurricane Center agrees that people should plan before the storm hits. 

It’s also important to have a family emergency plan. The Federal Emergency Management Agency has put together a checklist as a starting point.

>>Read: Storm evacuations: How coin, frozen cup of water could keep you from getting sick

Georgia’s Emergency Management Agency has suggested learning the flood risks and getting ready kits together for both your home and your car.

What should be in the kit? Water, food, a battery-operated radio, garbage bags and a can opener are a good start. 

>>Read: Why you should never use a generator during a storm 

If you are forced to evacuate, make sure you have helpful apps to find gas, hotel rooms and traffic routes.

Hurricane safety: 15 tips that could save your life during a storm

Here are some safety tips emergency management and Federal Emergency Management Agency officials are offering that could save your life during a hurricane:Evacuation

1. If you are ordered to evacuate, you need to evacuate. The best way to stay safe is to be away from the storm's landfall. The orders to evacuate are issued based on historical flood maps and the strength of the storm. 

2. A Category 5 hurricane will bring “catastrophic damage,” officials with the National Hurricane Center warn, adding that “a high percentage of framed homes will be destroyed, with total roof failure and wall collapse. Fallen trees and power poles will isolate residential areas. Power outages will last for weeks to possibly months. Most of the area will be uninhabitable for weeks or months.”

3.  If you are in a mobile home, leave. Mobile homes will not survive a Category 5 hurricane.

4. Do not leave your pets at home, especially if they are outside.

If you stay

If you choose not to evacuate, or cannot leave, here are a few things you should do:

1. Get in a more secure room in your home – a closet or a bathroom without a window.

2. Stay on the bottom floor of your home unless water is rising.

3.  Do not go into your attic to escape rising water because you could get trapped. If you absolutely have to get in the attic to survive rising water, make sure you take an ax with you so you can cut a hole in the roof to escape.

4. If you are in an area that will flood, turn off electricity at the main breaker before water gets in your home to reduce the risk of electrocution.

5. Of course, do not try to go outside during the storm. Pieces of buildings, roofs, trees and other objects will be flying through the air.

6. Do not use candles as a light source – flashlights are what you need to use.

7. When you lose power, click here to see how you can use the internet.

During or after the storm

1. Do not use a generator during a storm.

2.  Never use portable generators inside a home, in your garage, in your basement or in a crawl space.

3. Generators produce carbon monoxide and if they are inside your house, your home can fill up with carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide will kill you if you breathe too much of it. If you are using a portable generator to power appliances in your home following the storm, make sure you have a carbon monoxide alarm. Appliances should be plugged directly into a generator. Do not hook the generator to your household electrical system. You can hurt yourself and kill utility workers when they begin to reconnect electricity to homes.

4. Do not get anywhere near standing water. It could contain live electric wires. If you come in contact with it, you could be electrocuted. If you see wires on the ground after the storm, assume they are live.

 The 5 ‘p’s of evacuation

 Don’t’ go farther than you have to

‘Gray Man’ ghost makes appearance before major hurricanes, legend says

The ghost of the Gray Man is an enduring legend that originated on Pawleys Island, South Carolina and dates back more than 200 years.

>> Read more trending news 

If you see the Gray Man, a massive hurricane is on its way, but your home will be spared, according to folklore.

Sightings of the mysterious spectral figure started around 1822. According to the legend, a young man had just returned from the sea and was on his way across the island to ask for his love’s hand in marriage, but he was thrown from his horse during a storm and died in quicksand.

His betrothed later came across his ghost who warned her to leave the island. She persuaded her parents to leave and when the family returned, they saw utter destruction everywhere, but their home had been spared, according to the Paranormal Guide.

The Gray Man ghost has been chronicled in TV shows and in books dating back to 1956, WHNS reported.

CNN's Anderson Cooper calls out Donald Trump Jr., debunks hurricane meme

Atlanta-based CNN is often dismissed as "fake news" by President Donald Trump and his supporters.

Seeking to prove their point, some right-wing meme creators found a photo of Anderson Cooper in waist-deep floodwater, claiming he was exaggerating and staging shots during Hurricane Florence. 

>> On WSOCTV.com: Florence's aftermath: The latest updates from the Carolinas

But the photo was from 2008 during Hurricane Ike in Texas, and Cooper was demonstrating the dangers of shifting depths of floodwaters. 

Cooper decided to address the issue in a nine-minute segment on his show Monday in part because the president's son, Donald Trump Jr., used the meme as fodder to malign CNN on Twitter.

While many people on Twitter used the images and tied them to Florence, Trump Jr. merely implied that this was fakery and designed to make his dad “look bad.” 

Cooper took umbrage to that, shading Trump Jr. by showing photos of him being an “outdoorsman” killing exotic wildlife but presuming he wasn’t in North Carolina helping in rescue efforts. 

>> Read more trending news 

Cooper then showed the 10-year-old video of himself in waist-deep water in a flooded area of Bridge City, Texas. He was demonstrating the various depths of water in a very small area. At one point, he even made fun of himself for doing this, but added that he didn’t want to be on the dry part of the road interfering with rescue operations. Cooper said he also wanted to show that water can go deep very quickly even just a few feet off a road, and many people die in hurricanes via drowning.

Cooper noted that his camera crew has to shoot on dry spots to keep the equipment from getting wet. And the tech person in the photo? He died last year, Cooper said. 

Hurricane Florence: Trucker driving school bus rescues 64 dogs, cats from South Carolina

A Tennessee truck driver is being hailed as a hero after he rescued 64 shelter dogs and cats ahead of Hurricane Florence.

>> On WSOCTV.com: Florence’s aftermath: The latest news from the Carolinas

According to the Greenvale News, Tony Alsup, 51, from Greenback, Tennessee, drove a school bus to South Carolina last week as the deadly storm strengthened in the Atlantic. Once there, he stopped in Orangeburg, Georgetown, Dillon and North Myrtle Beach, picking up 53 dogs and 11 cats from area animal shelters.

>> Read more trending news 

“It’s so easy for people to adopt the small pets and the cuties and the cuddly,” Alsup, of Tony's Emergency Animal Rescue and Shelter, told the Greenvale News. “We take on the ones that deserve a chance even though they are big and a little ugly. But I love big dogs, and we find places for them.”

Related: Hurricane Florence: Coast Guard rescues beagles by boatful in floodwater

He drove them to a shelter in Foley, Alabama, which will distribute the animals to other shelters across the nation, the newspaper reported

Saint Frances Animal Center in Georgetown praised Alsup in a Facebook post Tuesday.

>> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news 

"It's all true," the post said of Alsup, who also has saved animals from hurricane-hit Puerto Rico, Texas and Florida. "Tony swooped in at 4 a.m. Wednesday morning to pick up our 'leftovers' – the dogs with blocky heads, the ones with heartworm. The ones no one else will ever take. And he got them to safety. Not the most conventional evacuation, but surely the one with the most heart."

>> See the post here

Read more here.

Residents forced to evacuate after dam breaks in North Carolina in wake of Hurricane Florence

A dam burst in Anson County, North Carolina, Monday in the wake of Hurricane Florence and the torrential rains the storm dumped on the state for days.

>> Read more trending news 

It happened in Lilesville and luckily it was not as a serious as it might have been.

The Anson County Sheriff’s Office ordered several homes evacuated as they assessed the possible damages and whether a continuing threat existed.

Emergency management officials said they think the houses are safe, but they still evacuated about 12 homes.

Evacuees were sent to the Lilesville Fire Department.

The dam is not the Blewett Falls Dam, officials said. It’s part of a sand and gravel company -- BV Hedrick Dam.

This dam break will most likely breach another one of the company’s dams, officials said.

Dam inspectors with DEQ are on site even though it’s not a regulated dam. 

>> Related: Hurricane Florence: Here’s a step-by-step guide to filing an insurance claim

Officials are reporting the death toll from Hurricane Florence has increased to 31, with 24 victims in North Carolina.

Hurricane Florence: Here’s a step-by-step guide to filing an insurance claim

As deadly Hurricane Florence leaves a path of destruction through the Carolinas, many are left trying to figure out how to begin the chore of cleaning up and repairing their property.

>> Read more trending news

Insurance companies have already sent claims teams to the affected areas to help customers to get the process of filing a claim started so customers can get the money to repair their property in a timely manner.

Here is a step-by-step guide on how to file an insurance claim following a hurricane or flood:

1. It is important to file the claim with your insurer as soon as possible. Thousands of people will be filing claims, and you want to get yours as high as you can on the list.

2. The Insurance Information Institute, an organization that provides information on insurance issues, suggests you make temporary repairs to your home if they are needed to protect it from further damage. Save the receipts for supplies so you can turn them in for reimbursement.

3. Once you are able to speak to an insurer, you will need to ask these questions:

  • Is the damage you described covered under the terms of your policy?
  • How long do you have to file a claim?
  • How long will it take to process the claim?
  • Do you need estimates for repairs?

4. This step is very important: Once you make the claim, be sure to write down the claim number. Again, insurers will be dealing with thousands of people -- make it easy for them to communicate with you about your claim by having the claim number written down where you can find it.

5. When you speak to your insurer, record the day and time of the conversation and with whom you spoke. Take notes about what is said and if any monetary amounts are mentioned.

6. You need to be ready to provide an accurate description of damages to your insurer. If you can safely do it, walk around your home and make notes on what was damaged. 

7. After you contact them, your insurance company with send you a “proof of loss” form to complete or will send an adjuster – a person trained to assess the damage to property – to your home to get the information on your losses. To speed this process along, start gathering information about your property and the items that were lost or destroyed. A proof of loss form will ask you to describe the items damaged or destroyed, provide the approximate date of purchase and estimate the cost to repair it or replace it. If you happen to be able to produce receipts for items, that would be a help as well.

8. Another step you can take to document what was damaged is to photograph or videotape the damage. Be sure to point out structural damage in the photos or video.

9. Do not throw out damaged items. You want an adjuster to see them first.

10. If you are unable to live in your home and must stay elsewhere, keep all receipts for any living expenses – hotel rooms, food, and other costs of evacuation. Most homeowner policies that cover windstorm damage will cover those costs.

11. Be wary of anyone who comes to your door offering to do repairs or claiming to be insurance adjusters. 

12. If you have no insurance, you can register for federal disaster relief at DisasterAssistance.gov. You do that by downloading the FEMA mobile app or by calling 1-800-621-3362. 

Disaster assistance can help with temporary housing, home repairs and other disaster-related expenses, including crisis counseling and legal assistance. Click here for more information on FEMA aid.

Water vs. wind: What is covered?

Hurricanes cause wind and water damage. Homeowners insurance covers these hazards in a different way. 

>>Does insurance cover hail damage to your car, house?

Homeowners insurance does not cover flood damage – including flooding that is caused by storm surge. You would have needed to have flood insurance to pay for damages caused by water beforehand. Structures or belongings that were damaged by flooding are covered only by flood insurance.

Wind damage is not covered in some coastal states. You would have had to purchase a separate windstorm policy in advance, which is a common thing in those coastal states. Both North Carolina and South Carolina are states where insurance companies can charge special deductibles for wind damage.

Damage to your car is generally covered by your automobile insurance.

Finally, be patient. It may take a while for someone to get to you and assess your damages.    

Hurricane Florence aftermath: 1-year-old dies after vehicle flooded by rising waters

Officials on Monday morning recovered the body of a 1-year-old boy who was swept away by floodwaters during the aftermath of Hurricane Florence.

>> Read more trending news 

Update 10:30 a.m. EDT Sept. 17: Sheriff’s deputies in Union County confirmed in a Facebook post Monday morning that searchers had found the body of Kaiden Lee-Welch.

“Our thoughts and prayers (are with) the little boy’s family and all the search team members and law enforcement officers who helped in this matter,” deputies said. “Very sad situation.”

>> Watch the news report here

Original report: According to WSOC-TV, emergency personnel in Union County, North Carolina, responded Sunday night to a vehicle trapped in flooded water on Highway 218 at Richardson Creek near New Salem. An adult was rescued and taken to a hospital, but a child was missing, officials said.

>> On WSOCTV.com: Tracking Florence: Live updates from the Carolinas

The Union County Sheriff's Office identified the child as Kaiden Lee Welch in a Facebook post Monday morning.

>> See the Facebook post here

"Detectives believe the child and his mother were traveling east on N.C. 218 going toward Wadesboro," the post said. "The mother drove around the barricades on N.C. 218 and continued traveling east until her vehicle encountered rushing water flowing across the road. Her vehicle left the roadway and came to rest amongst a group of trees. She managed to free herself and Kaiden, who was in a car seat, but lost her grip on him in the rushing water."

The post said search and rescue teams looked for Kaiden for several hours Sunday night but were unable to find him.

Hurricane Florence aftermath: Man rescues dogs in flooded kennel

A man from Texas who is volunteering in North Carolina after Hurricane Florence flooded the area is being hailed a hero after he rescued six dogs that were found in a locked cage.

Video of the rescue shows dogs barking and standing on their hind legs as Ryan Nichols of Longview, Texas, approaches the kennel, Daily Mail reported

He got them out and they swam out of their cage.

>> Read more trending news 

Nichols isn’t the only person who rescued dogs from the flood waters.

Another dog in South Lumberton, North Carolina was rescued by two men who drove from Maine to help rescue animals, Huffington Post reported.

One was alone on a porch, soaked, with no license and a cut leash on her neck.

The dog was so thankful to her rescuers for saving her that she kept licking them.  

The two men also delivered pet food to hotels where people evacuated with their pets, Huffington Post reported.

North Carolina Infant Killed in Hurricane Florence "Was A Fighter in the Beginning"

North Carolina Infant Killed in Hurricane Florence "Was A Fighter in the Beginning"

Hurricane Florence aftermath: Journalists rescue woman from car stuck in floodwaters

They were in the right place at the right time

>> Watch the news report here

>> On WSOCTV.com: Tracking Florence: Live updates from the Carolinas

Reporter Chris Jose and photojournalist Brandon Bryant with Atlanta's WSB-TV, which is owned by Cox Media Group, have been in South Carolina covering what is now tropical depression Florence. The two are making their way to Fayetteville, North Carolina, to cover the flooding and damage left by the storm there. 

>> On WSBTV.com: 3-month-old the latest death due to Florence. Here's what we know about the victims

They were driving up Interstate 95 when they found the roadway flooded over around Latta, South Carolina. 

Jose said they decided to take some of the back country roads to get around the flooding when they ran across a woman who was stuck inside her car, with floodwater rapidly rising up around it. 

>> On WSBTV.com: Convoy of Care: Here's how you can help Hurricane Florence victims

The two said the woman was yelling, "Help me! Help me!” The area was under a tornado warning, adding to the already dangerous situation. 

Knowing they had to do something, Jose said he drove their SUV as far as they could into the water without getting stuck and Bryant, wearing a pair of waders, got out into the water, which was about waist-deep.

When Bryant got to the woman’s car, he found Barbara Flanagan inside, praying. 

"It just pulled me in and I couldn’t stop it. I had my foot on the brake, but it wouldn’t stop," Flanagan said. 

>> On WSOCTV.com: Looters clean out Family Dollar amid storm damage

Bryant said he told Flanagan he was going to open the door and that water was going to come flooding in, be she was going to be alright. 

He got the door open and was able to grab the woman and help her out her car. 

"I couldn't leave you out there," Bryant told the woman. “My heart wouldn’t allow me.”

>> On WSBTV.com: Disaster relief organization offering help as Florence moves through

As they made their way through the floodwaters, Flanagan told Bryant she was from Georgia and was a worker with the USDA, who was responding to the area for storm relief. 

She said some of her coworkers had taken the same route shortly before her and the road was clear. 

>> Read more trending news 

"Looks can be deceiving," Flanagan told Jose. "Don’t go through the water."

A man in a pickup truck pulled up behind the WSB-TV crew’s SUV and offered to help get the woman’s car out of the floodwater. The woman’s car was still able to run, despite the high water. 

Typhoon Mangkhut: Dozens dead, missing after storm slams China, Hong Kong, Philippines

Typhoon Mangkhut swept through the Philippines, Hong Kong and southern China, killing dozens and leaving many more missing before weakening to a tropical storm Monday. 

Here are the latest updates:

Update 1:35 a.m. EDT Sept. 17: Mangkhut has weakened to a tropical storm, The Associated Press reported Monday.

The deadly storm killed at least 69 people and left dozens missing after it plowed through the Philippines, Hong Kong and southern China, authorities said. Many died in landslides.

Read more here.

Original report: Typhoon Mangkhut made landfall on the southern Chinese coast Sunday afternoon, packing 100 mph winds a day after ravaging the northern Philippines and Hong Kong, the BBC reported.

>> Read more trending news 

The storm killed at least 54 people in the Philippines, and government officials at a news conference Sunday that many of the fatalities were caused by landslides, CNN reported.

Mangkhut made landfall on the Chinese coastal city of Jiangmen City in the Guangdong Province, according to state radio.

The typhoon hit Hong Kong with winds of 120 mph, The Washington Post reported.

>> Photos: Typhoon Mangkhut batters southern China

“Remain where you are if protected and be prepared for destructive winds and the change in wind directions,” the Hong Kong Observatory, the city’s meteorological agency, warned residents Sunday afternoon. 

Nearly 500,000 people were evacuated from seven cities in Guangdong province, the Post reported.

Many of the deaths in the Philippines were caused by landslides in the Cordillera and Nueva Vizcaya regions, the BBC reported.

Florence live updates: Death toll climbs to 17 as rain, floods continue

Blowing winds, torrential rains, rising rivers: Florence is leaving a path of destruction as it batters the Carolinas.

The monster hurricane was downgraded to a tropical storm Friday afternoon and weakened to a tropical depression early Sunday.

>> Read more trending news  

The deadly storm has killed at least 17 people in the Carolinas, including a woman and her baby when a tree fell on a home in Wilmington Friday morning after Florence made landfall around 7:15 a.m. A woman died from a heart attack in Pender County. Two men, both 78, died in Lenoir County. One was killed trying to plug in a generator, the other died when he was knocked over by the wind trying to check on his hunting dogs, according to news reports.

> To keep up with latest on how Florence will impact the Carolinas, download the WSOC weather app

The National Hurricane Center is warning that Florence, which has slowed to a crawl, will bring  “catastrophic” flooding to the Carolinas through the weekend.

Live updates:

Update 1:07 a.m. EDT Sept. 17

The live updates on this page have concluded. Please visit WSOCTV.com for the latest coverage of Florence’s aftermath in the Carolinas.

Update 11:05 p.m. EDT Sept. 16

Death toll rises to 17

The death toll from Hurricane Florence increased to 17 including a 3-month-old who died when a tree landed on a mobile home.

Kade Gill was on a couch with his parents around 12:45 p.m. when the tree landed on the home as the remnants of Florence continued to pummel the Carolinas.

"We was watching the trees in the back that's leaning, but I guess the whole time we were watching the wrong one," mother Tammy Gill said.

Update 1:35 p.m. EDT Sept. 16

Floodwaters cut off Wilmington

Wilmington, North Carolina, has been completely cut off by floodwaters, WRAL reported Sunday. Officials are seeking additional help from state law enforcement and the National Guard, the television station reported.

At a news conference Sunday, Woody White, chairman of board of commissioners in New Hanover County, said that Saturday night’s rain made roads into Wilmington impassable, WRAL said.

Update 12:13 p.m. EDT Sept. 16

Mandatory flood evacuations ordered

Officials in Pender County, North Carolina, issued mandatory evacuations for residents living near the Black River and the Northeast Cape Fear River, WECT reported.

“If you had flooding along the Northeast Cape Fear River during Hurricane Floyd, you need to evacuate now,” said Tom Collins, Pender County Emergency manager. “If you had flooding during Hurricane Matthew, you need to evacuate.” 

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper tweeted Sunday that the storm “has never been more dangerous than it is now. Many rivers are still rising, and are not expected to crest until later today or tomorrow.

“Be ready to head to higher ground if you need to evacuate,” Cooper tweeted.

Update 10:01 a.m. EDT Sept. 16

Death toll rises to 14

The death toll from Florence has risen to 14, officials told United Press International, while nearly 1 million are without power as waters continue to rise in the Carolinas.

The death toll included 11 in North Carolina and three in South Carolina, officials said.

Update 9:01 a.m. EDT Sept. 16

Collapse at North Carolina coal-ash landfill

Heavy rains caused by Florence eroded a coal-ash landfill and caused a slope to collapse at a closed power station near the North Carolina coast, the Herald-Sun of Durham reported.

Duke Energy spokeswoman Paige Sheehan said contaminated runoff from about 2,000 cubic yards of ash likely flowed into the cooling pond at the L. V. Sutton Power Station outside Wilmington.

Update 4:49 a.m. EDT Sept. 16

Florence has weakened to a tropical depression, the National Hurricane Center said in its 5 a.m. advisory. The report cautioned that “flash flooding and major river flooding will continue over a significant portion of the Carolinas.”

The storm, which has maximum sustained winds of 35 mph, is about 20 miles southwest of Columbia, South Carolina. It is moving west at 8 mph.

Meanwhile, the South Carolina Emergency Management Division tweeted that there are more than 59,000 power outages across the state.

Update 2:17 a.m. EDT Sept. 16

Although Tropical Storm Florence is “likely to weaken to a depression very soon,” the National Hurricane Center cautioned in its 2 a.m. advisory that flash floods and river floods are expected to continue in the Carolinas.

The storm, which has maximum sustained winds of 40 mph, is about 25 miles southeast of Columbia, South Carolina, and 70 miles west-southwest of Florence, South Carolina. It is moving west at 6 mph.

Update 9:35 p.m. EDT Sept. 15

Florence’s sustained winds dropped to 45 mph around 8 p.m. and the storm is about 65 miles south-southeast of Columbia, South Carolina’s capital, the National Hurricane Center said. 

The storm is expected to continue to dump excessive rain, threatening the area with flash floods and river flooding.

Heavy rains caused a slope collapse at a closed power station causing 2,000 cubic yards of coal ash to contaminate a nearby cooling pond. It is still unclear if a weir was open or whether any of the contaminated water may have flowed into the Cape Fear River.

The gray ash left after coal is burned contains toxic heavy metals including lead and arsenic. 

Update 6:51 p.m. EDT Sept. 15

Power has been restored to 637,000 customers, about half of the 1.1 million who are experiencing outages, Duke Energy said. 

The utility expects more outages as the storm continues to pummel the Carolinas.

Update 5:57 p.m. EDT Sept. 15

Three more people have died in North Carolina because of Florence, bringing the death toll up to 11. 

An 81-year-old man fell and hit his head Friday while packing to evacuate, the office of the Chief Medical Examiner told The Associated Press.

A husband and wife died in a house fire linked to the storm as well, officials said.

Update 3:37 p.m. EDT Sept. 15

More deaths reported in North Carolina

The Associated Press reports that two more deaths have been confirmed in North Carolina as a result of Tropical Storm Florence, bringing the death toll to at least seven in that state. One death has been reported in South Carolina.

Update 1:45 p.m. EDT Sept. 15

Death toll rises as catastrophic flooding continues across parts of Carolinas

The death toll rises, as the first storm-related death in South Carolina was confirmed Saturday afternoon. The South Carolina Emergency Management Division told CNN that a 61-year-old woman was killed when her car hit a fallen tree. Five storm-related deaths have been reported in North Carolina.

Dozens of rescues are underway across the region while the rain continues to fall.

Update 10:45 a.m. EDT Sept. 15

Heavy rain, catastrophic flooding continue across parts of Carolinas

The latest National Weather Service advisory said Tropical Storm Florence is moving slowly west and a slow westward motion is expected to continue through today. A turn toward the west-northwest and northwest is expected on Sunday. Maximum sustained winds have decreased to near 45 mph, and the storm is expected to be downgraded to a depression by tonight. Florence is forecast to turn northward through the Ohio Valley by Monday.

Update 8:21 a.m. EDT Sept. 15

Tropical Storm Florence nearly stationary

Tropical Storm Florence’s forward speed has slowed even more as the storm continues to dump rain on the Carolinas. The National Hurricane Center’s intermediate advisory at 8 a.m. noted that the storm was moving west at 2 mph.

>> Photos: Tropical Storm Florence soaks Carolinas

The National Hurricane Center also said that the storm is still causing “catastrophic flooding in parts of South Carolina and North Carolina. Maximum sustained winds remain at 50 mph.

Update 5:14 a.m. EDT Sept. 15

Tropical Storm Florence weakens slightly, but flooding continues

According to the National Hurricane Center’s 5 a.m. advisory, Tropical Storm Florence has weakened in strength but remains dangerous because of flooding. The storm’s winds have decreased to 50 mph as it continues to move deeper into South Carolina.

>> Photos: Tropical Storm Florence soaks Carolinas

A storm surge warning remains in effect for the area from Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, to the Ocracoke Inlet in North Carolina, the National Hurricane Center reported.

Update 2:45 a.m. EDT Sept. 15

Tropical Storm Florence enters South Carolina

According to the 2 a.m. intermediate advisory issued by the National Hurricane Center, Tropical Storm Florence was traveling slowly into eastern South Carolina. The storm was located about 30 miles west of Myrtle Beach and 40 miles south-southeast of Florence.

Maximum sustained winds were clocked at 60 mph, the National Hurricane Center reported. The storm is causing “catastrophic flooding” in North Carolina and South Carolina.

Update 12:45 a.m. EDT Sept. 15

Winds rising in South Carolina; rain totals swell in North Carolina

According to the National Weather Service in Charleston, South Carolina, winds have been rising as Tropical Storm Florence makes its way inland in the Carolinas. Just after midnight, 55 mph wind gusts were recorded at Fort Sumter in Charleston, while the Charleston Airport measured winds topping 53 mph.

Rain continues to soak the area hit by Florence on Thursday. Shortly after midnight Friday, the National Weather Service in Newport/Morehead recorded 23.75 inches of rain at its office in Newport.

Update 11:00 p.m. EDT Sept. 14

Tropical Storm Florence weakening

Tropical storm Florence is weakening with maximum sustained winds now at 65 mph, according to the latest briefing from the National Hurricane Center.

The storm has picked up a little speed, increasing from 3 mph to 5 mph as it tracks south into South Carolina.

The center of the storm is 15 miles northwest of Myrtle Beach.

The NHC is predicting Florence will weaken as it moves further inland over the next few days and will mostly become a tropical depression by Saturday night.

Update 10:30 p.m. EDT Sept. 14

Catastrophic flooding along coastal Carolinas

The center of Tropical Storm Florence has moved south into South Carolina. It is still bringing heavy rains and high winds to portions of the North Carolina coast, as well, as it slowly moves inland.

Emergency officials said catastrophic flooding is underway in some areas as rescue crews saved hundreds of people in North Carolina from rising waters Friday.

Power outages are increasing, with the latest numbers at almost 800,000 in North Carolina alone.

Tornado warnings are also posted as Florence continues to batter the region with torrential rains and gusty winds.

Update 9:40 p.m. EDT Sept. 14

Flash flood emergency

A flash flood emergency has been issued for counties along the North Carolina coast as Tropical Storm Florence continues it’s slow push inland.

The National Weather Service in Morehead City, North Carolina, has recorded more than 23 inches of rain and it’s still coming down.

Update 8:02 p.m. EDT Sept .14

Latest from National Hurricane Center 

Tropical Storm Florence has remained mostly unchanged since the NHC’s last update.

The storm has sustained winds of 70 mph with higher gusts and is still moving west at 3 mph.

Florence is located about 15 miles northeast of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

Storm surge and tropical storm warnings are posted along the coast from Myrtle Beach north to Cape Hatteras.

Update 7:30 p.m. EDT Sept. 14

Flood waters rising

Flood waters are inundating North Carolina beach towns, rising past mail boxes and covering streets and bridges.

Roads are impassable in many areas along the coast.

The mayor of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, Brenda Bethune, told CNN her town has withstood the storm very well, but she’s worried about the next several days.

“We have 5 major rivers that surround us and we have only one major road into Myrtle Beach. All the roads are going to be impacted by flooding in the next few days,” she said.

Bethune said the anticipated flooding could cause problems for weeks, including food and gas shortages.

Update 6:50 p.m. EDT Sept. 14

Power outages increasing

The number of power outages across coastal North and South Carolina is climbing as Tropical Storm Florence downs trees and utility poles during a slow motion move inland.

In North Carolina, emergency officials said more than 725,000 residents are now without electricity due to the storm.

In South Carolina, more than 103,000 are in the dark as Florence dumps torrential amounts of rain on the region.

The National Hurricane Center is still predicting up to 40 inches of rain could fall in some areas of the Carolinas as Florence inches inland over the next couple days.

“Southeastern coastal North Carolina into far northeastern South Carolina (could see ) an additional 20 to 25 inches of rain, with isolated storm totals of 30 to 40 inches. This rainfall will produce catastrophic flash flooding and prolonged significant river flooding,” according to the NHC’s latest storm update.

Update 6:10 p.m. EDT Sept. 14

Federal search and rescue teams assist

Federal search and rescue teams are part of the emergency response underway as Tropical Storm Florence churns through the Carolinas.

President Donald Trump said more than 1,100 FEMA Urban Search and Rescue personnel are helping state and local teams in North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia

“The teams came from all over the country this week, traveling long distances with equipment & K-9 partners to arrive before the storm,” Trump tweeted Friday afternoon.

Update 5:30 p.m. EDT Sept. 14

300 plus flood rescues

Emergency crews are helping stranded residents get to safer ground.

At least 300 people were rescued from rising flood waters in New Bern, North Carolina, and more are still waiting for help, according to the state’s Emergency Management agency.

Rescue crews used boats to rescue more people Friday along a rising river and helped 60 others escape from a cinderblock motel that collapsed from the force of the pummeling winds and whipping downpours, according to The Associated Press.

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper again issued a warning about the storm . 

We’re still in the thick of the storm, and if it hasn’t reached you yet, it IS coming,” he said. 

He also tried to reassure residents,.

“We have help from NC and several other states, as well as our federal partners,” Cooper said Friday afternoon.

Update 4:50 p.m. EDT Sept 14

Hurricane Florence now a tropical storm

Hurricane Florence is weakening and has now been downgraded to a tropical storm, but the system still has maximum sustained winds of 70 mph.

It has also slowed down significantly to just 3 mph and is dumping large amounts of rain on parts of eastern North Carolina, according to the National Hurricane Center

The storm is centered about 50 miles southwest of Wilmington and is moving in a westerly direction, the NHC reported.

Update 4:40 p.m. EDT Sept. 14

NC governor issues new warning 

As the 400-mile-wide Hurricane Florence unleashes a brutal deluge of wind and water on North Carolina, the state’s governor issued a new warning Friday.

“This storm is going to continue its violent grind across our state for days. Be alert,” Gov. Roy Cooper said at a noon press conference.

He also warned those experiencing the brunt of Florence not to go outside.

“To those in the storm path, if you can hear me – please stay sheltered in place. Do NOT go out into this storm,” he said.

Forecasters are warning about the potential for massive flooding as Florence crawls at just 6 mph inland after making landfall near Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina, Friday morning.

Update 4:18 p.m. EDT Sept. 14

Flash flood warnings posted in N.C.

Flash flood warnings are posted across a wide swath of eastern North Carolina as Hurricane Florence dumps near record amounts of rain in some areas of the state. The warnings extend all the way from the coast as far inland as metro Raleigh.

The National Weather Service in Wilmington is warning the Cape Fear River has reached an all-time high of over 8 feet.

Update 3 p.m. EDT Sept. 14

Guardsmen ask for help

National Guardsmen working in Lumberton, North Carolina, have asked neighbors to help sandbag along a train trestle, filling a gap in a levee.  

Update at 2:46 p.m. EDT Sept. 14

Two killed in Wilmington

A woman and her child were killed and her husband severely injured when a tree fell on their home near Wilmington, North Carolina. They are believed to be the first two fatalities of the hurricane.

Update at 2:33 p.m. EDT Sept. 14

He looks familiar

This man is making a viral comeback with his rant against the rage of Florence.

Update at 2 p.m. EDT Sept. 14

NHC’s latest  update

The National Hurricane Center says Hurricane Florence continues to move slowly through the Carolinas at a slow crawl of 5 mph.

Maximum sustained winds remained at 75 mph. The storm is moving west as of the 2 p.m. report.

Update at 1 pm. EDT Sept. 14

A sign of weakening

Hurricane Florence is weakening as it moves further inland, according to the National Hurricane Center. Top sustained winds are now 75 mph, the NHC’s 1 p.m. report says.

Update at 12:19 a.m. EDT Sept. 14

Rainfall numbers going up

The National Hurricane Center says Hurricane Florence has turned back toward the west. “An erratic motion between westward and west-southwestward is likely today,” the NHC said.

Rainfall totals are beginning to grow. Here are some Hurricane Florence rainfall reports received so far:

18.53 inches in Oriental, North Carolina14.07 inches in Surf City, North Carolina13.81 inches in Morehead City, North Carolina13.07 inches in Jacksonville, North Carolina

Update 11:40 a.m. EDT Sept. 14

A 1-minute history of Florence

How did Florence get to where it is today? Check out this video.

Update 11:18 a.m. EDT Sept. 14

More scenes of damage in North Carolina

Update 11:06 a.m. EDT Sept. 14

Virginia evacuation orders lifted

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam has lifted evacuation orders for Zone A of Hampton Roads, the Eastern Shore, Northern Neck and Middle Peninsula. The National Hurricane Center has lifted tropical storm warnings for the Virginia coast.

Update  10:37 a.m. EDT Sept. 14

Will a ‘jog’ take Florence back out to sea 

Florence seems to be tracking toward the south, at least slightly. That could put the storm back over open water, allowing some strengthening and bringing more rain to the area. 

Update 10:27 a.m. EDT Sept. 14

Some scenes from North Carolina

Update 10 a.m. EDT Sept. 14NHC's 10 a.m. update on Florence

The National Hurricane Center says the eye of Hurricane Florence is wobbling southwestward near the coast of southeastern North Carolina. According to a 10 a.m. update from the NHC, sustained winds are at 85 mph with one gust near Wilmington being registered at 76 mph. The storm is still moving slowly at 6 mph.

Update 9:39 a.m. EDT Sept. 14

If you’re stranded, don’t go into the attic

From the National Weather service:

Update 9:17 a.m. EDT Sept. 14

The president tweets

Update 9 a.m. EDT Sept. 14NHC's 9 a.m. update on Florence

From the National Hurricane Center’s 9 a.m. update: “The eye of Hurricane Florence wobbling slowly southeastward near the coast of southeastern North Carolina.”

Florence’s sustained winds are now at 85 mph and the storm is moving at 6 mph. 

Update 8:55 a.m. EDT Sept. 14

Track remains steady

The National Hurricane Center reports that Florence is expected to move south and west across South Carolina through Saturday. The forecasters say the storm will then turn north back into North Carolina. Florence is expected to cross the Columbia, S.C. area on Saturday. 

Update 8:33 a.m. EDT Sept. 14

The Cajun Navy is on the way

The Cajun Navy, a volunteer search, rescue and recovery group, is on the way to the Carolinas with boats to help get people stranded in their flooded homes.

"We have the resources ... to go and help these people and help save lives and just make it a little bit easier for everybody," Jordan Bloodsworth, a Cajun Navy member, told "Fox & Friends" Friday morning

Update 8:17 a.m. EDT Sept. 14

Power outages continue

Reports of additional power outages are coming in as the storm continues moving west, albeit very slowly. 

According to the National Hurricane Center, 45 minutes after Florence made landfall near Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina, winds remain at 90 mph. The storm is moving west at 6 mph.

Update 7:45 a.m. EDT Sept. 14

Florence officially makes landfall

From the National Hurricane Center: Hurricane Florence made landfall near Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina, at 7:15 a.m. with estimated maximum winds of 90 mph.

Update 7:40 a.m. EDT Sept. 14

Rescue efforts continue

New Bern Mayor Dana Outlaw says she knows of no fatalities in the city as officials continue rescue efforts for at least 150 people trapped in their homes as the Neuse River rises. 

Update 7:15 a.m. EDT Sept. 14

Power outages spreading

More than 430,000 homes are now without power in the Carolinas. The North Carolina Emergency Management Agency is reporting 340, 264 power outages statewide. South Carolina has 96,720 customers without power.

Update 6:50 a.m. EDT Sept. 14

Help on the way to New Bern

Around 150 people remain trapped in New Bern, North Carolina, as the Neuse River floods. According to city officials, two Federal Emergency Management Agency teams are working on the way to help.  

Update 6:45 a.m. EDT Sept. 14

Towns are flooding

The National Hurricane Center said Emerald Isle, North Carolina, was seeing 6.3 feet of inundation as Florence  continues to move onshore. Emerald Isle is about 84 miles  north of Wilmington. 

Update 6:26 a.m. EDT Sept. 14

Hundreds of thousands without power

Hurricane Florence knocked out power to more than 300,000 homes in North Carolina, according to the North Carolina Department of Emergency Management.

Update 5:53 a.m. EDT Sept. 14

People trapped in New Bern

Around 150 people are trapped in their homes in New Bern, North Carolina, according to city officials, as water is rising in that area. 

Peggy Perry, who is trapped in her home there, told CNN, “In a matter of seconds my house was flooded up to the waist. And we’re stuck in the attic. There’s four of us.

We’ve been up here for like three or four hours. There’s a little window here that we might have to break up (to get out).”

Update 5:35 a.m. EDT Sept. 14

Florence making landfall

The National Hurricane Center says Florence is making landfall as a Category 1 hurricane near Wilmington, North Carolina. Florence was moving west-northwest near 6 mph as the eyewall came ashore.

According to the NHC, a turn toward the west “at a slow forward speed is expected today, followed by a slow west-southwestward motion tonight and Saturday.”The center of Florence is then forecast to move inland across the Carolinas then northward through the central Appalachian Mountains early next week.

Update 4:45 a.m. EDT Sept. 14: The National Hurricane Center said in its 5 a.m. advisory that Hurricane Florence was about to make landfall. CNN reported that landfall was taking place at Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina. 

>> Related: Photos: Hurricane Florence batters the Carolinas

At 5 a.m. the storm continued to move slowly, with a top forward speed of 6 mph. Maximum sustained winds remain at 90 mph, the National Hurricane Center reported.

Update 4:07 a.m. EDT Sept. 14: The eyewall of Hurricane Florence is beginning to reach the North Carolina coast, the National Hurricane Center reported. At 4 a.m.  the eye of the Category 1 storm was located 30 miles east of Wilmington, North Carolina. Maximum sustained winds are still 90 mph.

Florence’s maximum sustained winds will continue to decrease, but flooding will be a major concern for the western areas of North Carolina and South Carolina, including the Appalachian Mountains. Forecasters believe heavy rains will continue in the mountains until Wednesday. 

Update 3:21 a.m. EDT Sept. 14: Hurricane Florence has begun pounding the North Carolina coast, according to the National Hurricane Center. At 3 a.m., the center of Hurricane Florence was located 35 miles east of Wilmington. Maximum sustained winds remain at 90 mph.

An observation site at Cape Lookout reported sustained winds of 75 mph. At Fort Macon, winds were 74 mph with gusts to 99 mph, the National Hurricane Center reported.

The storm continues to move west-northwest at 6 mph.

About 150 people are awaiting rescue in the New Bern area from flooding, WNCT reported.

Update 2:41 a.m. EDT Sept. 14: A flash flood warning for Washington, North Carolina and most of Craven County was issued by the National Weather Service, WCTI reported. Other parts of eastern North Carolina remain under a flash flood watch, including River Bend, Havelock, Morehead City and Vanceboro, the National Weather Service reported.

Update  2:01 a.m. EDT Sept 14:  There has been little change in the strength and movement of Hurricane Florence, according to the 2 a.m. intermediate advisory by the National Hurricane Center. The storm remains a Category 1 storm with sustained winds of 90 mph and moving west-northwest at 6 mph. Storm surge for the storm is projected to be approximately 9 to 10 feet along the coast of North Carolina, the National Hurricane Center said.

Update 1:13 a.m. EDT Sept. 14: The eye of Hurricane Florence continues to creep toward the North Carolina coast. Winds continue to increase as the storm prepares to make landfall.  The storm surge is beginning to reach the waterfront in Morehead City, North Carolina, according to the National Weather Service.

A weather station in Atlantic Beach recorded 12.73 inches of rain over the past 24 hours, CNN reported.

Update  12:16 a.m. EDT Sept 14:  The National Weather Service is reporting that “life-threatening” storm surge is occurring in parts of eastern North Carolina.

Update  11 p.m. EDT Sept 13: Hurricane Florence has weakened to a Category 1 storm as it continues lashing the Carolinas, the National Hurricane Center reported.

Florence is still a powerful storm with sustained winds of 90 mph and even higher gusts, but it’s only moving at a slow crawl of 6 mph, according to the NHC.

The storm is producing a “life-threatening” storm surge in parts of eastern North Carolina and conditions could worsen even more as storm conditions continue into Friday night.

The NHC predicted Florence won’t begin moving inland significantly until possibly as late as Saturday.

Update 9:50 p.m. EDT Sept 13: Thousands of people in North Carolina are without power as Hurricane Florence batters the coast with high winds and driving rain.

North Carolina Emergency Management officials said so far there are more than 102,000 outages in the coastal counties  of Beaufort, Carteret, Craven, Onslow and Pamlico.

Southeastern North Carolina and northeastern South Carolina could see nonstop rain for the next 24 to 36 hours, according to the National Hurricane Center.

>> Related: Hurricane Florence: Duke Energy says 75% of Carolina customers could lose power

Flooding is already underway in coastal North Carolina and it’s not just beach towns that are in danger of flooding. Experts and emergency officials have warned about the potential for major flooding along the state’s rivers as Florence blows ashore. 

The NHC saaid parts of coastal North and South Carolina could see as much as 40 inches of rain by the time this storm is over.

Update 8:30 p.m. EDT Sept 13: Once Hurricane Florence makes landfall, the storm is expected to stall over the North and South Carolina coastline creating a huge flooding danger as rains continue for several days, the National Hurricane Center reported.

Update 8:00 p.m. EDT Sept 13: Hurricane Florence’s winds speeds have dropped to 100 mph again, but the Category 2 hurricane is still a monster storm as it moves at just 5 mph toward land. 

According to the National Hurricane Center, Florence is located about 85 miles southeast of Wilmington, North Carolina, which is already experiencing gusting winds and pelting rains.

The storm will make landfall over the coast of southern North Carolina and northeastern South Carolina late Thursday, the NHC said in its latest update.

As flooding continues along the North Carolina coast, winds from Florence have already knocked out power to thousands of residents and the eyewall of the storm is still hours away from making landfall.

Update 6:50 p.m. EDT Sept 13: Hurricane Florence’s wind speeds have increased to 105 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center, as the storm’s out bands sweep ashore.

As Florence slowly moves toward the coast, the hurricane’s powerful winds have already pushed enough water onto the North Carolina coast to cause flooding in small towns along the shore.

Update 6:15 p.m. EDT Sept 13: Hurricane Florence is already having an impact along the North Carolina coast and the storm’s outer bands have barely arrived.

WGHP-TV is reporting storm damage in Atlantic beach after winds blew the roof off a structure near the shore.

Update 5:50 p.m. EDT Sept. 13: Officials along the North Carolina coast in towns like New Bern are warning residents if they haven’t already evacuated, they need to take shelter and stay where they are as Hurricane Florence barrels ashore.

“At this time City of New Bern officials are encouraging all residents to shelter in place due to Hurricane Florence.. Residents are asked to heed all warnings given by officials,” New Bern police officials said on Twitter.

Update 5:00 p.m. EDT Sept. 13: Hurricane Florence is battering North Carolina as the storms’s outer bands lash the coast.

The Category 2 hurricane has slowed to a crawl and is moving at just 5 mph with winds clocked at 100 mph, according to the latest update from the National Hurricane Center.

Update 4:30 p.m. EDT Sept 13: The outer bands of Hurricane Florence are sweeping ashore in coastal North Carolina with wind speeds clocked at 105 mph and even higher gusts.

Here’s a live look at Florence from a livecam off the coast of Cape Fear, North Carolina, as the storm barrels ashore.

The camera is attached to a tower 34 miles off the coast on what what was once a Coast Guard station.

Update 4 p.m. EDT Sept. 13

Wilmington seeing Florence’s effects

Update 3:24 p.m. EDT Sept. 13

River flooding

Update 2:54 p.m. EDT Sept. 13

Power outages growing

As of 2:45 p.m., nearly 17,000 customers in North Carolina are experiencing power outages. Most outages are in Carteret, Craven and Pender counties. 

Update 2:20 p.m. EDT Sept. 13

From the governor of North Carolina

Update 1:55 p.m. EDT Sept. 13

The 2 p.m. NHC update on Florence

At 2 p.m., Florence was 110 miles east-southeast of Wilmington, North Carolina, and 165 miles east of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, according to the National Hurricane Center. It is moving northwest at 10 mph and has sustained winds of 105 mph.

Update 1:33 p.m. EDT Sept. 13

Water coming in; winds picking up

Scenes from North Carolina as Florence heads for a landfall in the state:

Update 1:21 p.m. EDT Sept. 13

Here are the times most places on the coast will likely see their highest water levels from Florence:

 

Update 1:10 p.m. EDT Sept. 13

1 p.m. update from NHC

At 1 p.m., Florence was 115 miles east-southeast of Wilmington, North Carolina, and 175 miles east of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. It is moving northwest at 10 mph and has sustained winds of 105 mph.

Update 12:59 p.m. EDT Sept. 13

More Delta flights canceled

Delta Airlines has canceled 150 flights over two days as Hurricane Florence moves west. Customers can change the dates for the canceled flights, 80 on Thursday and 70 on Friday, by going to Delta.com, or by using the Fly Delta Mobile App.   

Update 12:40 p.m. EDT Sept. 13

Gust at near hurricane-force strength being seen now

A NOAA reporting station at Cape Lookout, North Carolina, has reported a sustained wind of 55 mph with a gust of 70 mph. Ocracoke, North Carolina, reported a sustained wind of 50 mph and a gust to 52 mph within the last hour. 

At noon, Florence was 130 miles east-southeast of Wilmington, North Carolina, and 185 miles east of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. The storm is moving northwest at 10 mph and has sustained winds of 105 mph.

Update 12:23 p.m. EDT Sept. 13

Winds are picking up

Winds on Harkers Island, North Carolina, are gusting and have taken down tree limbs.

Update 12:14 p.m. EDT Sept. 13

Energy outages are starting

Duke Energy is reporting that 1,400 customers in the Acme-Delco area and Northwest Brunswick area (near Wilmington, North Carolina) are without power. 

Update 11:31 a.m. EDT Sept.13

Price gouging law is in effect

North Carolina will be prosecuting anyone who engages in price gouging in the wake of Hurricane Florence, according to Attorney General Josh Stein.

“My office is here to protect North Carolinians from scams and frauds,” Stein said. “That is true all the time – but especially during severe weather. It is against the law to charge an excessive price during a state of emergency. If you see a business taking advantage of this storm, either before or after it hits, please let my office know so we can hold them accountable.”

Price gouging, or charging too much for goods and services during a time of crisis, is punishable by fines of up to $5,000 for each violation. 

Report potential price gouging by calling 1-877-5-NO-SCAM or file a complaint at www.ncdoj.gov.

Update 11 a.m. EDT Sept. 13

11 a.m. update on Florence from the NHC

According to the NHC, at 11 a.m. Florence was about 145 miles east-southeast of Wilmington, North Carolina, or 195 miles east of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, with sustained winds at 105 mph. Florence is moving northwest at 10 mph. The storm’s winds have decreased by 5 mph and the speed has slowed by 5 mph.

Update 10:50 a.m. EDT Sept. 13

Rain bans are onshore in the Carolinas

Here is a look at the radar out of Morehead City, North Carolina.

Update 10 a.m. EDT Sept. 13

The storm is very big

Keep in mind that while Hurricane Florence has been downgraded from a Category 4 storm to a Category 2 storm, the size of the storm has grown.

Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 80 miles from the hurricane’s center. Tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 195 miles from the center.

Update 9:06 a.m. EDT Sept. 13

It’s not all about the category

Hurricane Florence is a Category 2 storm at the moment, but residents of the Carolinas should remember that a storm’s category only represents the strength of its winds. Along with the storm’s winds come rain, storm surge and the chance for tornadoes. This graphic shows the potential impacts of Florence.

Update 8:26 a.m. EDT Sept. 13

Rainfall totals could reach 40 inches in some areas

Rainfall from Florence will be extremely heavy along the Carolinas and into Virginia, according to the National Hurricane Center. Here is what the NHC is forecasting:

Coastal North Carolina into northeast South Carolina: 20 to 30 inches, with isolated totals up to 40 inches. South Carolina and North Carolina into southwest Virginia: 6 to 12 inches, with isolated totals up to 24 inches.

Update 8 a.m. EDT Sept. 13

National Hurricane Center advisory

At 8 a.m., the National Hurricane Center says Hurricane Florence is 170 miles east-southeast of Wilmington, North Carolina, or 220 miles east of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Maximum sustained winds are 110 mph with gusts up to 130 mph. The storm is moving northwest at 12 mph.

Update 6:52 a.m. EDT Sept. 13

Florence nears the Carolina coast

The outer bands of Hurricane Florence have reached the North Carolina coast, and forecasters say the storm, which is expected to slow to a crawl, will make landfall late Thursday into Friday.

The NHC is warning residents that because Florence is slowing down storm surge will happen over the course of several high tides.

Here are the latest storm-surge inundation forecasts if the eye of the storm should arrive at high tide:

Cape Fear, North Carolina, to Cape Lookout, North Carolina, including the Neuse, Pamlico, Pungo and Bay Rivers: 9 to 13 feet North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, to Cape Fear, North Carolina: 6 to 9 feet Cape Lookout, North Carolina, to Ocracoke Inlet, North Carolina: 6 to 9 feet South Santee River, South Carolina, to North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina: 4 to 6 feet Ocracoke Inlet, North Carolina, to Salvo, North Carolina: 4 to 6 feet Salvo, North Carolina, to the North Carolina/Virginia border: 2 to 4 feet Edisto Beach, South Carolina, to the South Santee River, South Carolina: 2 to 4 feet

Update 4:58 a.m. EDT Sept. 13: Hurricane Florence remains a Category 2 storm with maximum sustained winds of 110 mph, the National Hurricane Center said in its 5 a.m. advisory

The storm is about 205 miles east-southeast of Wilmington, North Carolina, and 250 miles east-southeast of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, the advisory said. It is moving northwest at 15 mph.

Update 1:56 a.m. EDT Sept. 13: Hurricane Florence remains a Category 2 storm with maximum sustained winds of 110 mph, the National Hurricane Center said in its 2 a.m. advisory

The storm is about 280 miles east-southeast of Wilmington, North Carolina, and 325 miles east-southeast of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, the advisory said. It is moving northwest at 17 mph.

Update 11:05 p.m. EDT Sept. 12: Hurricane Florence has weakened to a Category 2 hurricane with wind speeds of 110 mph, down from 115 mph three hours ago, according the National Hurricane Center.

Florence is about 280 miles east south east of Wilmington, North Carolina, and is picking up a little speed, now moving at 17 mph.

Storm surge warnings are posted along parts of the North and South Carolina coast.

“A Storm Surge Warning means there is a danger of life-threatening inundation, from rising water moving inland from the coastline,” according to the NHC.

Some areas could see a storm surge between 9 and 13 feet, according to the latest NHC update.

Update 8:50 p.m. EDT Sept. 12: Hurricane Florence is a monster storm. All you have to do is check out the photos from space of the Category 3 hurricane to verify it.

NASA is sharing photos of the storm taken from the International Space Station and the camera lens almost isn’t big enough to encompass the entire hurricane.

Update 8:15 p.m. EDT Sept. 12: Hurricane Florence is weakening ever so slightly with wind speeds down to 115 mph, according to the latest update form the National Hurricane Center, but the storm is still a powerful Category 3 hurricane.

The NHC is predicting Florence will remain “an extremely dangerous major hurricane” when it makes landfall late Thursday or early Friday.

>> Related: Here’s what to do if your car is swept away by floodwaters

Hurricane-force winds extend outward from the center of the storm up to 70 miles and tropical-storm-force winds extend even further at 195 miles from its center.

Update 6:10 p.m. EDT Sept. 12: Once Hurricane Florence makes landfall, the storm could linger along the coast for as long as a day before slowly moving inland, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Weather Prediction Center.

“This brings a number of dangerous hazards. Obviously the wind, but most importantly the storm surge, which is one of the deadliest hazards of hurricanes, and the inland rainfall associated with this event” David Novak, the director of the Weather Prediction Center, said Wednesday afternoon.

“These hazards are deadly. In fact, over half of hurricane deaths are associated with water, both surge and rainfall, and that is our major concern with Hurricane Florence,” Novak said.

Tropical storm-strength winds are expected to begin lashing the Carolina coastlines beginning Thursday morning.

Southeastern North Carolina and northeastern South Carolina could see up to 2 feet of rain when Florence comes ashore, Novak said.

>> Related: Hurricane Florence: Only 3 Category 4 hurricanes have made landfall in the Carolinas

He also said few people have seen this much rain and that it’s really only comparable to Hurricane Floyd, which hit eastern North Carolina in 1999 and caused widespread flooding over a period of weeks, killing 57 people and leaving behind damages of more than $6 billion dollars.

Update 5 p.m. EDT Sept. 12: More than 10 million people are under a hurricane warning or watch throughout the Carolinas and Georgia, according to The Associated Press.

The NHC is also predicting Florence will bring up to 13-foot storm surges and as much as 40 inches of rain in some areas as it slows once it makes landfall.

>>What is the Saffir-Simpson scale; how does it work; is there a Category 6?

The storm’s winds have dropped to 120 mph and it is  moving in a northwesterly direction at 16 mph, the National Hurricane Center said in it’s latest update.

Update  4:45 p.m. EDT Sept. 12: Storm surge warnings are now posted for parts of the North and South Carolina coastal region as Hurricane Florence bares down on the eastern seaboard.

The National Hurricane Center has warned that Florence is expected to bring “life-threatening” storm surge when it slams into the Carolinas over the next few days.

South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster , during an afternoon press conference Wednesday, called the storm’s path “unpredictable” and urged people in the state’s evacuation zones to take the storm warnings seriously.

Thousands of people in North and South Carolina, and parts of coastal Georgia and Virginia, are evacuating as the powerful hurricane churns toward shore.

Update 3:30 p.m. EDT Sept. 12: 

Duke Energy looking at between 1-3 million without power Duke Energy, which serves 4 million customers in North and South Carolina, says it expects between 1 million and 3 million customers will lose power because of Hurricane Florence. 

More than 20,000 power workers from Duke and from other utility companies in other states are stationed around the region awaiting the storm’s landfall.

Update 2:54 p.m. EDT Sept. 12:

What will 25 inches of rain do?

Update 2:22 p.m. EDT Sept. 12:

Pet rumor debunked

The Federal Emergency Management Agency is debunking a rumor that emergency shelters and hotels are required by law to allow those who evacuate to bring their pets. 

FEMA points out that the Americans with Disabilities Act requires hotels and shelters to accept service animals, not personal pets. FEMA offers this link on evacuating with pets. 

Update 2 p.m. EDT Sept. 12:

Florence is now a Category 3 – still a major hurricane

Here’s what we know after the 2 p.m. update from the NHC:Florence is 435 miles southeast of Wilmington, North Carolina, or 470 miles east-southeast of Myrtle Beach, S.C. Sustained winds have dropped to 125. Florence is moving at 16 mph.

Florence's predicted southward turn off of North Carolina on Friday means more of the coastline will be affected – some areas getting hurricane-force winds for more than 24 hours. Hurricane force winds are winds that are greater than 74 mph. In Wilmington, N.C. the storm surge will be between 9 and 13 feet.

Update 1:40 p.m. EDT Sept. 12:

Florence from space

Update 1:05 p.m. EDT Sept. 12:

An ‘odd’ hurricane

Weather Channel meteorologist Greg Postel told USA Today that Florence’s track change is not what he would expect to see from such a storm. Postel said Florence will likely "stall near the coast and then parallel southwestward toward Georgia," instead of quickly heading inland.

Update 12:44 p.m. EDT Sept. 12:

Deal declares an emergency

Following the change in the forecast for Florence earlier Wednesday, Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal has declared a state of emergency for all counties in the state.

Update 12:10 p.m. EDT Sept. 12:

Flying into the eye

Here’s what it looks like when you fly into the eye of a Category 4 hurricane.

Update 12:05 p.m. EDT Sept. 12:

‘A Mike Tyson punch to the Carolina coast’

The Carolinas will be receiving the full brunt of Hurricane Florence in the next 48 hours, according to Jeff Byard, associate administrator for response and recovery at the Federal Emergency Management Agency. “This is not going to be a glancing blow,” he said. “This is not going to be one of those storms that hit and move out to sea. This is going to be a Mike Tyson punch to the Carolina coast.” 

The National Hurricane Center is continuing to warn coastal residents of “life-threatening storm surges.” A storm surge is water pushed inland from landfalling hurricanes. The NHC says some surges can be up upwards of 9 feet.

Update 11:10 a.m. EDT Sept. 12:

What’s the track now?

According to the 11 a.m. NHC update, on the current forecast track, “… the center of Florence is expected to be near the coasts of southern North Carolina and northern South Carolina in 48 to 72 hours and then drift westward to west-southwestward in weak steering flow.

Update 11 a.m. EDT Sept. 12:

Update on Florence from the NHC

The 11 a.m. update from the National Hurricane Center puts Florence about 485 miles southeast of Wilmington, N.C., or 520 miles east-southeast of Myrtle Beach, S.C., with sustained winds remaining at 130 mph. Florence is moving northwest at 15 mph. The storm has slowed its forward motion a bit.

Update 10 a.m. EDT Sept. 12:

Presidential warning

President Donald Trump is warning Georgia residents to be on watch saying, “Florence may now be dipping a bit south and hitting the Great State of Georgia.

Update 9:48 a.m. EDT Sept. 12:

Evacuations

Click here for WSOC’s updating list of mandatory and voluntary evacuations in North Carolina.

Update 8:48 a.m. EDT Sept. 12:

Change in steering currents

The NHC says the currents that are guiding Florence will collapse as the storm nears the coast, making it more difficult to predict where the storm will end up. As of Wednesday, the NHC is predicting a landfall in southeast North Carolina. This is a bit south of Tuesday’s predicted landfall. 

“Models are indicating that the steering currents will collapse by Friday when Florence is approaching the southeast U.S. coast,” according to the NHC update. “The weak steering currents are expected to continue through the weekend, which makes the forecast track on days 3-5 quite uncertain.”

Update 8 a.m. EDT Sept. 12:

From the NHC

According to the NHC, at 8 a.m. Florence was about 530 miles southeast of Cape Fear, N.C. with winds at 130 mph. It was moving west-northwest at 17 mph. 

Update 7:45 a.m. EDT Sept. 12:

Here’s what we know early Wednesday from the NHC’s 5 a.m. report:

  • Florence was centered more than 500 miles southeast of Cape Fear, North Carolina, moving west-northwestward.
  • Florence remains a Category 4 hurricane with 130 mph winds
  • Landfall looks to be late Thursday into Friday
  • Tropical-storm-force winds should arrive at the coast as soon as Thursday morning.
  • Florence is causing rip currents up and down the East Coast as far south as Florida.

Here’s what Hurricane Florence looks like from a satellite.

 

Hurricane Florence aftermath: 6 scary, infectious illnesses you can catch from floodwater

Hurricanes can leave behind tons of damage, including flooding. But did you know that treading through the wrong kind of water can cause illnesses or even death?

>> On WSOCTV.com: Tracking Florence: Live updates from the Carolinas

Floodwaters and standing water are often contaminated, posing several risks, such as infectious diseases, chemical hazards and injuries.

>> PHOTOS: Deadly Florence soaks the Carolinas

Here are six sicknesses you should beware of in the aftermath of Hurricane Florence:

Diarrheal diseases

Drinking or eating anything that has come in contact with floodwaters can lead to cryptosporidiosis, E. coli or giardiasis. While cryptosporidiosis and giardiasis are brought on by parasites, E. coli is caused by bacteria.

>> Hurricane Florence: Here’s how you can help

Symptoms from each include diarrhea, gas, nausea and vomiting. Cryptosporidiosis, however, can even be fatal for those with weakened immune systems, such as AIDS or cancer. 

Wound infections

Open wounds and rashes that are exposed to floodwater can cause tetanus or Vibrio vulnificus. Tetanus is a bacterial infection, and it can enter the body through breaks in the skin like a cut.

>> 10 tips to stay safe when returning home after a natural disaster

Vibrio vulnificus, another bacteria, can be contracted the same way. Many people become infected by consuming undercooked shellfish or exposing an injury to brackish or salt water.

Other illnesses 

People affected by flooded areas can also get trench foot. It occurs when your feet are wet for long periods of time. It can cause pain, swelling and numbness.

>> Read more trending news 

You should also be aware of chemical hazards from materials that may have spilled into the water. And be cautious of electrical hazards, since there are puddles that may be electrified due to fallen power lines.

Curious about other diseases you can catch? Take a look at the full list at CDC’s official website

Florence Rescue Efforts

Florence Rescue Efforts

What to Do -and Not Do- After a Hurricane

What to Do -and Not Do- After a Hurricane

Oh, babies! Twins born to Florence evacuees at Florida hospital

A military couple stationed in North Carolina who evacuated for Hurricane Florence welcomed healthy twin girls at Naval Hospital Jacksonville Thursday.

>> Read more trending news

Danielle Digregorio was set to be induced Sept. 18. She and her husband, Nicholas Digregorio, made the decision to evacuate Camp Lejeune in North Carolina to be safe.

“I was nervous the entire car ride, praying the entire time. I was like, ‘Please, don’t let me go into labor yet, please don’t let me go into labor yet,’” Danielle said.

>> MORE: Tropical Storm Florence live updates

The couple traveled 12 hours Tuesday to St. Augustine, where they have family. They said they brought down baby supplies, like diapers and a bassinet, just in case.

Early Thursday morning, Danielle went into labor and eventually had a cesarean section.

“Whenever I heard them, I started crying because I was like really happy that they are here,” Danielle said.

The twins were named Scarlett and Sadie.

While it was an early surprise, the first-time parents said it meant the world to have their family there for the birth.

The Digregorios said they are looking forward to spending time with family before they head home to start a new chapter as a family.

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