Naperville electric linemen plan to help North Carolina restore power after hurricane hits

Naperville electric linemen plan to help North Carolina restore power after hurricane hits

Hurricane Florence makes landfall in North Carolina, with plenty of destruction and suffering ahead

Hurricane Florence made landfall near Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina, Friday morning and continues to spread heavy rain and strong winds into the Carolinas, before kicking off an agonizing crawl through the Southeast into early next week, producing catastrophic inland rainfall flooding, life-threatening storm surge and destructive winds.

Florence made landfall near Wrightsville, North Carolina, at 7:15 a.m. EDT with maximum sustained winds around 90 mph.

(CNN)Hurricane Florence has made landfall in North Carolina, but its crawling pace and overwhelming storm surges are setting up hours and hours of destruction and human suffering — with dozens desperately awaiting rescue in one flooded city alone.

Video: Hurricane Florence closes in on the US coast

The eyewall, the worst part of Florence, near the coast of southeastern North Carolina and is only the beginning of what could be a record-wet siege from a tropical cyclone in parts of the Tar Heel State.

CNNs Judson Jones, Kaylee Hartung, Chuck Johnston, AnneClaire Stapleton, John Berman, Michelle Krupa, Dianne Gallagher, Marnie Hunter, Amanda Jackson, Holly Yan and Michael Guy contributed to this report.

The eyewall will move extremely slowly across the North Carolina coast through early Friday morning bringing extreme wind gusts and very heavy rainfall.

Are you affected by Hurricane Florence? When its safe, text, iMessage or WhatsApp your videos, photos and stories to CNN: +1 347-322-0415

Video: HURRICANE FLORENCE MAKES LANDFALL l 8 a.m. Friday Update

As of 10 a.m. EDT, Florence is located about 20 miles southwest of Wilmington, North Carolina, and is slowly moving southwestward at 6 mph.

Hurricane Florence @ midnight 9.13.18Pungo River is raging across Belhaven, NCStay safe yall! pic.twitter.com/zYbKCKBLnY

NOAA's Storm Prediction Center has issued a tornado watch for parts of North Carolina until 5 p.m. EDT.

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper has declared a state of emergency due to Florence, which made landfall with 9 mph winds in Wrightsville Beach shortly after 7 a.m. local time Friday. The storm is moving slowly in a southwest direction and is expected to reach South Carolina by early Saturday morning, according to the latest forecast from the National Weather Service.

Extreme rainfall is already occurring in eastern North Carolina. A flash flood emergency was issued for portions of Carteret, Craven, Pamlico and Jones counties due to a combination of storm surge and heavy rainfall. This flash flood emergency includes New Bern and Morehead City.

“They just have to wait until the weather conditions permit them to make it here safely,” she added. “I dont have the follow-up information on all of the calls. There are some that I know we have made it to and others where theyve been rescued by other agencies or individuals — private citizens who have rescued some people.”

An estimated 10 to 15 inches of rain has fallen across portions of coastal North Carolina as of early Friday.

Schreiber, who works at the town post office, said their condo unit is on the second floor of a four-story building, so they can move up if the water rises. They ultimately decided not to evacuate because they worried about not being able to get back.

Water levels remain elevated in Pamlico Sound in North Carolina and a gauge in Emerald Isle recorded a 7.0-foot surge Friday morning. A 10.1-foot storm surge was recorded very early Friday in New Bern.

Friday morning, Wilmington, North Carolina, recorded a wind gust to 105 mph, the second strongest wind on record here. A wind gust to 100 mph was reported at Cape Fear, North Carolina earlier Friday and a buoy about 50 miles to the east of the center of Florence's eye recently reported a wind gust to 112 mph.

The rainfall in the area is expected to reach 20 to 40 inches over the next several days. There is a high risk of flash flooding in the Carolinas through Saturday, and the flooding will likely strike Virginia by Sunday.

In the Triangle: Tornado watch issued for most of central NC, including Wake

The highest sustained wind so far was reported in Cape Lookout, where sustained winds clocked in at 83 mph.

New Bern resident George Zaytoun chose to weather the storm after it was downgraded from a Category 4. Zaytoun, who builds custom homes, said he wanted to stay behind so he could help his neighbors after Florence.

Hurricane-force winds (74-plus mph) extend outward up to 80 miles from the center, and tropical-storm-force winds (39-plus mph) extend outward up to 195 miles from the center.

About 200 residents in the coastal town of New Bern have been rescued so far and were taken to shelters. Another 150 are awaiting rescue as the dangerous Category 1 hurricane moved ashore early Friday morning.

A hurricane warning and storm surge warning are in effect from the South Santee River, South Carolina, to Duck, North Carolina, including the Albemarle and Pamlico sounds. These warnings include Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, Wilmington, North Carolina, and most of the Outer Banks.

Video: Views of Hurricane Florence at Landfall

Hurricane warnings also extend inland, including North Carolina cities such as Greenville, Goldsboro and Kinston.

Areas from Edisto Beach to South Santee River in South Carolina were under both a storm surge and hurricane watch, while areas located north of Duck, N.C., to the states border with Virginia were under a storm surge watch, according to the NHC update.

Hurricane watches and storm surge watches are in effect from Edisto Beach, South Carolina, northward to the South Santee River, South Carolina. This includes Charleston, South Carolina.

The storm is likely to bring significant rain to the Carolinas, where some places could see upwards of 20 inches, the update said. This is expected to cause "catastrophic flash flooding and prolonged significant river flooding."

Basically just a sand bar: Outer Banks might narrowly escape Florence, but what about the next hurricane?

Tropical storm warnings are in effect north of Duck, North Carolina, to Cape Charles Lighthouse, Virginia, as well as for the Chesapeake Bay south of New Point Comfort, Virginia, and from Edisto Beach, South Carolina, northward to the South Santee River, South Carolina. This includes Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Virginia, and Charleston, South Carolina.

Emerald Isle, N.C. recorded 6.3 feet of storm surge "inundation," according to the U.S. Geological Survey. A 5.5 foot surge of water near Morehead City was also recorded, the National Weather Service reported. 

A hurricane warning means hurricane-force winds (74-plus mph) are expected somewhere within the warning area and is typically issued 36 hours ahead of the arrival of tropical-storm-force winds (39-plus mph), which could make last-minute preparations difficult.

A storm surge warning means there is a danger of life-threatening storm-surge inundation within the warning area during the next 36 hours from rising water moving inland from the coastline.

Hurricane Florence — weakened, but still powerful — inched closer to land Friday morning, battering the Carolina coast with 60 mph winds and heavy rains that officials fear could cause catastrophic flooding.

Wind gusts reached as high as 106 mph at Cape Lookout, North Carolina, late Thursday evening while a 105-mph gust was reported at Fort Macon, North Carolina.

Winds were gusting as high as 99 mph at Fort Macon, North Carolina and sustained winds are blowing at 73 mph early Friday.

“Heavy rain from the remnants of Florence is possible late Monday into Tuesday,” the outlook said. “It is too early to say if flooding will result from the rain. Be sure to monitor the forecast the next few days for updates on the potential for flooding, as details become clearer.”

Sustained winds of 79 mph were recently reported in Davis, North Carolina, while a 77-mph sustained wind was recorded at Fort Macon, North Carolina.

Whatever happens in Upstate New York, it will be nothing like the potentially catastrphic flooding predicted in the Carolinas and Virginia. The strong, slow-moving storm is already pushing water levels high along the coast and in rivers, and could drop 20 inches or more of rain.

As of 9 a.m. Friday, Swansboro, North Carolina has measured 14.25 inches of rainfall. Over 12 inches of rainfall has been reported near Calabash, North Carolina, with over 10 inches of rainfall near Surf City, North Carolina.

Initial forecasts last week indicated Florences remnants might miss Upstate entirely, but as the hurricane got closer and the forecast picture clearer, meteorologists say, the odds of impacts on the Northeast have risen.

WATCH LIVE: Hurricane Florence live streams from Carolinas

On Thursday night, a storm surge of 10 feet above normal levels was reported by the National Weather Service office in Morehead City, North Carolina, at the Cherry Branch Ferry Terminal on the Neuse River, courtesy of the North Carolina Department of Transportation.

A gauge at Oriental, North Carolina, on the Neuse River recorded a water height of about 6 feet above normal tide levels late Thursday.

Syracuse, N.Y. — As Hurricane Florence begins battering the Carolinas, the first weather alert for its possible impacts on Upstate New York has been issued.

There continues to be overwash of the dunes at the "S" curves on Highway 12 near Rodanthe in the Outer Banks.

“Flooding is possible with even two inches of rain,” the weather service said. “Ground will still be moist after the last few weeks of above-normal rain.”

Steering currents have fallen apart allowing Florence to slow down tremendously as it drifts toward the coast of the Carolinas.

The National weather Service in Binghamton this morning issued a hazardous weather outlook, the first heads-up that troublesome weather is on the horizon.

Gradual weakening is expected on Friday with significant weakening over the weekend as it moves farther inland. 

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Florence has potential to cause $5 billion in property damage

The National Hurricane Center noted late Wednesday that while Florence has weakened, "the wind field of the hurricane continues to grow in size. This evolution will produce storm surges similar to that of a more intense, but smaller, hurricane, and thus the storm-surge values seen in the previous advisory are still valid."

Watch out, America! #HurricaneFlorence is so enormous, we could only capture her with a super wide-angle lens from the @Space_Station, 400 km directly above the eye. Get prepared on the East Coast, this is a no-kidding nightmare coming for you. #Horizons pic.twitter.com/ovZozsncfh

Residents trapped on roofs and in vehicles as Hurricane Florence nears coast

– Storm-Surge Impact: A destructive storm surge will accompany the eye coming ashore into Friday, and coastal flooding may persist through multiple high-tide cycles into this weekend east of the center of Florence. All evacuation orders from local officials should be followed because of this dangerous threat. Significant beach erosion is also likely on the southeastern U.S. coast. Elevated water levels may persist for some time after landfall in areas where onshore winds persist.

Here are the latest storm-surge inundation forecasts from the National Hurricane Center if the eye of Florence arrives at high tide:

European Space Agency astronaut Alexander Gerst Tweeted, Watch out, America! #HurricaneFlorence is so enormous, we could only capture her with a super wide-angle lens from the @Space_Station, 400 km directly above the eye.

This is what it looks like right now in North Carolina, where Florence is leaving a mess

– Cape Fear to Cape Lookout, North Carolina, including the Neuse, Pamlico, Pungo and Bay rivers: 7 to 11 feet, with locally higher amounts possible- Cape Lookout, North Carolina, to Ocracoke Inlet, North Carolina: 6 to 9 feet- South Santee River, South Carolina, to Cape Fear, North Carolina: 4 to 6 feet- Ocracoke Inlet, North Carolina, to Salvo, North Carolina: 4 to 6 feet- Salvo, North Carolina, to Duck, North Carolina: 2 to 4 feet- Edisto Beach, South Carolina, to the South Santee River, South Carolina: 2 to 4 feet

The latest: Eyewall of Florence sitting on coast near Wilmington

The National Weather Service is forecasting a record tide level at Beaufort, North Carolina, Friday morning, topping levels seen during Hazel (1954) and Floyd (1999), among others.

In all, an estimated 10 million people live in areas expected to be placed under a hurricane or storm advisory, according to the U.S. Weather Prediction Center.

Battering waves will ride atop the storm surge, inflicting more damage to structures near the water as the hurricane arrives.

Up to 10 million people lie in the path of the storm, which still poses a risk to life and property, although it has been downgraded to a Category 2 hurricane.

Police chief warns: No one to call in the storm

Tidal flooding will also occur with high tide as far north as the southern Chesapeake Bay, including along the tidal James River and Potomac River near the bay. The highest tides will occur late Friday morning into Friday afternoon. 

New Bern, a city of about 30,000 residents, saw significant storm surge flooding as the rivers overflowed their banks and swept into town. A flash flood emergency was declared in the area that includes Carteret, Craven, Pamlico and Jones counties Friday morning. 

Florences eye moves toward S. Carolina

– High-Impact Rainfall: Florence will produce high-end flash flooding between Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, and Morehead City, North Carolina.

Craven County spokeswoman Amber Parker told the Durham Herald-Sun the rescues began around 4 p.m. Thursday. She added that water in some places surpassed mailboxes and had reached the second story of homes in low-lying areas.

The National Hurricane Center noted that "life-threatening, catastrophic flash flooding and prolonged significant river flooding are likely over portions of the Carolinas and the southern and central Appalachians late this week into early next week."

That heavy rain threat may last for days into early next week in some areas, given Florence's slow movement.

VIDEO: New Bern, North Carolina Flooding From Florence

Disastrous flooding is expected in some areas, not simply near the coastal Carolinas where the heaviest rain totals are forecast, but also in the Appalachians where heavy rain over mountainous terrain is likely to trigger mudslides and rockslides. See the link below for more information.

As of 5 a.m. Friday, 200 people had already been rescued as waters rose on the Neuse and Trent rivers, according to Colleen Roberts, a city public information officer. 

According to the National Hurricane Center, Florence is expected to produce the following rainfall totals:

– Coastal North Carolina into far northeastern South Carolina: an additional 20 to 25 inches, with isolated totals up to 40 inches- Rest of South Carolina and North Carolina into southwestern Virginia: 5 to 10 inches, with isolated totals up to 15 inches

This storm has been hovering over us for a while, and we expect it to continue to hover over us, she said. Lots of water, lots of wind, lots of storm surge.

The runoff from these incredible rainfall totals will continue for days, and then will enter the riverways of the Carolinas. Flooding may swell these watersheds for weeks, if not months.

– Wind Impact: Hurricane-force winds (74-plus mph) are occurring over portions of coastal North Carolina and are expected to spread across parts of southeastern North Carolina and eastern South Carolina through Friday. Tropical-storm-force winds (39-plus mph) are expected to spread inland across the remainder of the warning area through Saturday. Numerous downed trees and long-lasting power outages could occur near and inland from where the center of Florence strikes.

This threat of tree damage and power outages may also extend across Florence's larger swath of tropical-storm-force winds and may last for an extended period of time into this weekend. Structural damage to homes and buildings is possible, particularly where the core of any hurricane-force winds moves through.

– Tornadoes: A few tornadoes are possible in eastern and southeastern North Carolina through Friday. These tornadoes should be weak and short-lived but could add to damage caused by rainfall or straight-line hurricane winds.

The name Florence has been used for Atlantic tropical storms and hurricanes since 1953. The destructive potential of this iteration could mean the name Florence may be retired from future use.

Tropical Depression Six formed late on Aug. 31, then was named Tropical Storm Florence the next day in the far eastern Atlantic Ocean.

On Sept. 5, Florence became a Category 4 hurricane after rapidly intensifying over the open Atlantic Ocean.

Florence underwent rapid intensification a second time Sunday into Monday, when its winds jumped up from 75 mph to 130 mph in just 25 hours ending 12 p.m. EDT Monday.


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