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    Reports: Deteriorating conditions leave nearly 300,000 without power as Hurricane Florence targets Carolinas

    By Brian Lada, AccuWeather meteorologist and staff writer
    By Kevin Byrne, AccuWeather staff writer
    September 14, 2018, 6:43:45 AM EDT

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    As of 6:37 a.m. EDT, this reports story is no longer being updated. Click here for the latest updates on Florence.


    Hurricane Florence is inching onshore as a dangerous, life-threatening storm.

    “Florence has slowed to a crawl as expected, and this will only exacerbate the flooding situation for the Carolinas from now through Sunday," said AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Matt Rinde.

    (AP Photo/Tom Copeland)

    High winds and storm surge from Hurricane Florence hits Swansboro N.C.,Friday, Sept. 14, 2018.

    (AP Photo/Tom Copeland)

    Waves from Hurricane Florence pound the Bogue Inlet Pier in Emerald Isle N.C., Thursday, Sept. 13, 2018.

    (AP Photo/Tom Copeland)

    A work truck drives on Hwy 24 as the wind from Hurricane Florence blows palm trees in Swansboro N.C., Thursday, Sept. 13, 2018.

    (Photo/NASA Astronaut Ricky Arnold)

    Hurricane Florence as seen from the International Space Station on Monday, Sept. 10, 2018.

    (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

    Fishermen launch a boat as they attempt to recover their haul-seine fishing net, Thursday, Sept. 13, 2018, in Virginia Beach, Va., as Hurricane Florence moves towards the eastern shore.

    (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)

    Sand bags surround homes on North Topsail Beach, N.C., Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2018, as Hurricane Florence threatens the coast.

    (AP Photo/Mic Smith)

    A gas station in Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina, alerts motorists that it is out of gas due to the heavy demand caused by Hurricane Florence Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2018.

    (AP Photo/Mic Smith)

    Preston Guiher carries a sheet of plywood as he prepares to board up a Wells Fargo bank in preparation for Hurricane Florence in downtown Charleston, South Carolina, Sept. 11, 2018.

    (Instagram photo/@kellybinderim)

    There is no traffic on eastbound lanes of Interstate 26 in South Carolina from Columbia to Charleston as evacuees are directed away from the coast ahead of Florence's arrival.

    (Twitter photo/Sarah Shinners)

    Vehicles line up at a Costco gas station in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, on Sept. 10, 2018, to fuel up before Hurricane Florence's arrival on the East Coast.

    (AP Photo/Mic Smith)

    Walker Townsend (right), from Isle of Palms, South Carolina, fills a sandbag held by Dalton Trout, in a municipal parking lot where sand is distributed free of charge in preparation for Hurricane Florence's arrival.

    (AP Photo/Mic Smith)

    Police cars block the Ashley Phosphate Road exit ramp off Interstate 26 in North Charleston, South Carolina, as both sides of the highway flow westbound toward Columbia, South Carolina, on Sept. 11, 2018.

    (AP Photo/Mic Smith)

    Larry Pierson, from the Isle of Palms, South Carolina, purchases bottled water from the Harris Teeter grocery store in preparation for Hurricane Florence on Monday, Sept. 10, 2018.

    (Instagram photo/@trendingtasha)

    Shelves are bare at a Walmart in Wake Forest, North Carolina, on Sept. 10, 2018, as residents stock up on water and supplies before Florence arrives.

    (AP Photo/Mic Smith)

    Residents of the Isle of Palms, South Carolina, fill sand bags at the Isle of Palms municipal lot, where the city was giving away free sand in preparation for Hurricane Florence on Monday, Sept. 10, 2018.

    (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Justin Wolpert/U.S. Navy via AP)

    In this Monday, Sept. 10, 2018, photo released by the U.S. Navy, the guided-missile destroyer USS Nitze departs Naval Station Norfolk after the announcement of Hurricane Florence, in Norfolk, Virginia.

    (Image via Erin McNeill)

    The Oceanic restaurant boarded up in preparation of Florence in Wrightsville Beach near Wilmington, North Carolina.

    (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

    Laura Gretch, Humane Rescue Alliance transport manager, holds an 8-year-old Chihuahua mix as she helps unload 26 cats and dogs arriving in Washington on Tuesday Sept. 11, 2018, from Norfolk Animal Care and Control in Virginia in advance of Florence.

    (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)

    An onlooker checks out the heavy surf at the Avalon Fishing Pier in Kill Devil Hills, N.C., Thursday, Sept. 13, 2018 as Hurricane Florence approaches the east coast.

    (AP Photo/David Goldman)

    Korea war veteran Ed Coddington and wife Esther wait with Markia McCleod, her aunt and daughter in a shelter for Hurricane Florence to pass after evacuating from their nearby homes in Conway, South Carolina, on Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2018.

    (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)

    Heavy surf crashes the dunes at high tide in Nags Head, N.C., Thursday, Sept. 13, 2018 as Hurricane Florence approaches the east coast.

    (Image via Extreme Meteorologist Reed Timmer)

    Drone footage above Topsail Beach, NC approaching high tide ahead of Hurricane Florence.

    (Image via Brunswick County Sheriff's Office)

    Bay Street area in Southport, North Carolina flooding before Florence makes landfall.

    (Image via Brunswick County Sheriff's Office)

    Bay Street in Southport, North Carolina flooding as Florence approaches.

    (Image via Brunswick County Sheriff's Office)

    Bay Street in Southport, North Carolina turning into a river. While this area collects water at high tide everyday, the water will rise more during Florence.

    (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Bret Tindal)

    Petty Officer 1st Class Mike McHuge from the Coast Guard Gulf Strike Team checks the outboard engine of one of the Shallow Water Urban Search and Rescue boats staged in Augusta, Georgia, Sept. 13, 2018.

    (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Bret Tindal)

    Coast Guard crews from across the U.S. are strategically relocating personnel and assets for the Hurricane Florence post-storm response.

    (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Bret Tindal)

    Petty Officer 1st Class Jack Fielden from the Coast Guard Gulf Strike Team checks the outboard engine of one of the Shallow Water Urban Search and Rescue boats.

    (Image via the Virginia National Guard)

    Soldiers assigned to the 2-183rd CAV pulled out their combat rubber raiding crafts today to conduct pre-mission checks in advance of #HurricaneFlorence. These Soldiers are among more than 1,300 Virginia National Guard personnel staged for possible hurricane response.

    (Image via FEMA Region 4)

    Urban search and rescue teams begin unloading equipment in North Carolina in preparation for Hurricane Florence.

    (Image via FEMA Region 4)

    Urban search and rescue teams begin unloading equipment in North Carolina in preparation for Hurricane Florence.

    (Image via FEMA Region 4)

    Urban search and rescue teams begin unloading equipment in North Carolina in preparation for Hurricane Florence.

    (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

    Kelly McGuire walks her dogs Jack and Roxy on a mostly deserted oceanfront beach, Friday, Sept. 14, 2018, in Virginia Beach, Va., as the effects of Hurricane Florence are felt.

    (AP Photo/Tom Copeland)

    Waves from Hurricane Florence pound the Bogue Inlet Pier in Emerald Isle N.C., Thursday, Sept. 13, 2018.

    (AP Photo/David Goldman)

    A message greets shoppers of supplies no longer available as Hurricane Florence approaches the east coast in Nichols, S.C., Thursday, Sept. 13, 2018. The residents of this tiny inland town who rebuilt after Hurricane Matthew destroyed 90 percent of the homes are uneasy as forecasters warn inland flooding from Florence's rain could be one of the most dangerous and devastating parts of the storm.

    (Mike Scantlin)

    Hurricane Florence impacts Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina.

    (AP Photo/Chris Seward)

    People survey the damage caused by Hurricane Florence on Front Street in downtown New Bern, N.C., on Friday, Sept. 14, 2018.

    (AP Photo/Chris Seward)

    Debris from Hurricane Florence covers a street in downtown New Bern, N.C., on Friday, Sept. 14, 2018.

    (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)

    A tree uprooted by strong winds lies across a street in Wilmington, N.C., after Hurricane Florence made landfall Friday, Sept. 14, 2018.

    (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)

    Ethan Hall, right, Michael Jenkins, center, and Nash Fralick, left, examine damage to Tidewater Brewing Co. in Wilmington, N.C., after Hurricane Florence made landfall Friday, Sept. 14, 2018.


    Officials declared a state of emergency in Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia and Maryland in preparation for significant rainfall, flooding storm surge and damaging winds.

    "We expect the eye of Hurricane Florence to reach the coast near Wilmington, North Carolina, early Friday morning," AccuWeather Hurricane Expert Dan Kottlowski said.

    Flo gif 9/14 1am


    Download the free AccuWeather app to stay up-to-date with Florence’s expected track and impacts to the eastern U.S. coast.

    correspondents

    AccuWeather correspondents are live in the Carolinas bringing you coverage on our apps, AccuWeather.com and the AccuWeather Network.

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    Florence’s excessive rainfall to trigger natural disaster in the Carolinas


    5:40 a.m. EDT Friday:

    About 70 people have been evacuated from the Triangle Motor Inn in Jacksonville, North Carolina, after hurricane-force winds compromised the hotel's structural integrity, according to reports. No one was found to be injured.

    Meanwhile, in New Bern, North Carolina, more than 100 people were awaiting rescue as devastating storm surge impacted the waterfront city.


    2:26 a.m. EDT Friday:

    As of 2:00 a.m. EDT, the center of Hurricane Florence is located about 35 miles east of Wilmington, North Carolina, with sustained winds of 90 mph. According to the National Hurricane Center, hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 80 miles from the center of the storm.

    In Wilmington, winds have been gusting frequently to nearly 65 mph. At nearby Wrightsville Beach, AccuWeather Extreme Meteorologist Reed Timmer has witnessed power flashes.

    Winds may lessen there for a time as Florence's eye wall inches onshore. Just north of the eyewall, devastating storm surge and destructive winds will ensue.

    Flo 2am 9/14 eyewall radar

    AccuWeather Interactive radar capture of Hurricane Florence at 2:05 a.m. EDT, Sep. 14, 2018.


    "[New Bern, North Carolina] is 100 percent out of power. The city is totally out of power," Mayor Dana Outlaw said to CNN earlier this evening.

    Florence is moving to the west-northwest at only 6 mph, meaning crews may not be able to gain access to affected areas in order to restore power for several days.


    1:24 a.m. EDT Friday:

    As of 1:00 a.m. Thursday, over 164,000 customers were without power in North Carolina. Tropical storm-force wind gusts have been recorded as far inland as Hope Mills, North Carolina - nearly 100 miles from the coast.

    A USGS gauge on the Neuse River at New Bern, North Carolina, reported 10.1 feet of inundation at 1:00 a.m.

    Portions of the southern Chesapeake Bay are reportedly entering minor flood stage due to persistent onshore wind flow from Florence. Gauges near Yorktown and Mobjack Bay, Virginia could reach major flood stage during high tide on Friday afternoon.


    11:10 p.m. EDT Thursday:

    With sustained winds of 90 mph, Florence is now a Category 1 storm. Devastating storm surge will continue to inundate coastal North Carolina overnight as heavy rain and damaging wind gusts lash areas from Kill Devil Hills to Goldsboro and Oak Island.


    Wind gusts at Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, are nearing 40 mph. While Florence is expected to be nearly stationary overnight, conditions will begin to deteriorate further in the coming hours.


    9:58 p.m. EDT Thursday:

    Storm surge has reached 10 feet along some areas of the North Carolina coast, including near Havelock, located near Morehead City, North Carolina.


    9:15 p.m. EDT Thursday:

    Power outages in North Carolina have climbed over 100,000, including nearly 100 percent of customers in Pamlico and Carteret Counties.

    Storm surge will continue to increase in the coming hours as high tide approaches. Storm surge has already caused flooding problems along the coast of North Carolina with water rising several feet and inundating the coast.


    7:40 p.m. EDT Thursday:

    Cape Lookout, North Carolina, has clocked sustained winds of 81 mph and gusts close to 100 mph. This is the first station to officially report hurricane wind speeds.


    6:50 p.m. EDT Thursday:

    Tropical storm force wind gusts are widespread across eastern North Carolina as Florence slowly approaches the coast. Cedar Island, North Carolina, has reported one of the highest winds so far with a gust of 89 mph.

    Winds will continue to increase into Thursday night as the center of Florence creeps closer to the coast.

    Meanwhile, lane reversals have ended on Interstate 26 in South Carolina. However, the evacuation orders remain in effect.



    5:32 p.m. EDT Thursday

    A curfew has been ordered for Myrtle Beach. It will go in effect at 7 p.m. EDT Thursday until 7 a.m. EDT Friday.


    Residents in New Bern, North Carolina, are being asked to shelter in place.


    5:17 p.m. EDT Thursday

    Storm surge remains one of the biggest threats from Florence.

    It's possible the storm surge can be as high as 15 feet, as this particular area has a rather shallow continental shelf, which means the rise in water could be several feet perhaps as much as 10-15 feet. A 10-15 foot rise in water would be high enough to flood some coastal communities, according to AccuWeather Meteorologists.

    Even areas farther inland should be prepared for a storm surge threat especially those located along tributaries like the Pamlico River, Pamlico Sound or Abelmarle Sound, especially as slow-moving Florence moves inland.

    "Any one of those rivers or streams that are emptying into the ocean are gonna rise because of the storm surge," AccuWeather Hurricane Expert Dan Kottlowski said. "So in some cases, the storm surge could be just or bad as worse than being right at the coast because of the water getting funneled into those areas."

    "You’ve just got a large volume of water affecting those areas. Anyone that lives near small lakes or streams are certainly going to be in danger of having flooding issues unless they're up on very high ground."

    In additional to the threat of storm surge, it's compounded by the threat of Florence's heavy rain, Kottlowski said, which could result in a "monumental problem."


    5:10 p.m. EDT Thursday:

    Conditions continue to deteriorate along the coast of North Carolina with winds frequently gusting past 50 mph.

    Officials have told those that remain in New Bern, North Carolina, shelter in place due to the strong winds and heavy rain.

    North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper has requested an additional federal disaster declaration to help with clean up and recovery following Florence. During a press conference on Thursday afternoon, Cooper said that he anticipates “historic major damage” across the state from the hurricane.



    3:49 p.m. EDT Thursday:

    AccuWeather Extreme Meteorologist Reed Timmer is reporting that winds are increasing dramatically in North Topsail, North Carolina.


    Florence is currently located about 105 miles east-southeast of Wilmington, North Carolina, and about 160 miles per hour of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

    Wind gusts of 77 mph have been reported at Cape Lookout, North Carolina.

    Nearly 6 inches of rain have been measured in Atlantic Beach, North Carolina, according to the National Weather Service.


    3:01 p.m. EDT Thursday:

    A NOAA reporting station at Cape Lookout, North Carolina, recently reported a sustained wind of 53 mph (85 km/h) and a gust to 63 mph (101 km/h), according to the National Hurricane Center.

    A gust to 70 mph was reported at Fort Macon, North Carolina.

    In a press conference Thursday afternoon, South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster says over 421,000 people have been evacuated from the state's coast.


    2:22 p.m. EDT Thursday

    Shenandoah National Park in Virginia is closed completely due to the expected impacts from Florence.

    All state parks in North Carolina will be closed as well.



    1:27 p.m. EDT Thursday

    Power outages are steadily increasing in North Carolina, according to Duke Energy's power outage map. Over 5,800 customers are currently without power, the utility reports. Over 12,000 are without power across the state, according to North Carolina Emergency Management.

    Storm surge and powerful winds are already causing conditions to deteriorate on parts of the Outer Banks.


    The tornado threat is also increasing as Florence moves closer to land.


    11:07 a.m. EDT Thursday:

    AccuWeather Extreme Meteorologist Reed Timmer is live from Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina, as Florence approaches the region with "life-threatening storm surge and rainfall," according to the National Hurricane Center.


    Conditions are beginning to deteriorate throughout Hatteras and Ocracoke islands in the North Carolina Outer Banks.


    10:37 a.m. EDT Thursday:

    Flooding impacts are already being reported throughout portions of the North Carolina Outer Banks.





    7:30 a.m. EDT Thursday:

    Outer rain bands of Hurricane Florence are just starting to reach the Outer Banks of North Carolina from Cape Hatteras to Cape Lookout.

    A tornado watch has been issued through early Thursday night for eastern North Carolina, as Florence approaches the coast.

    "Tropical tornadoes can hit quickly with little advance notice, so be sure to heed any warnings from NOAA Weather Radio or your Wireless Emergency Alerts on your phone," the National Weather Service (NWS) Newport/ Morehead tweeted.



    2:20 a.m. EDT Thursday:

    Bands of rain associated with Category 2 Hurricane Florence are visible on radar well off the shore of North Carolina. As the storm continues to approach throughout the day, more of its characteristics will become visible on radar.

    Flo's first radar 9/13 3am


    Florence's rain will first impact the southern Outer Banks later this morning.


    9:30 p.m. EDT Wednesday:

    Hurricane Florence could cause an environmental and public health disaster, as heavy rains may overwhelm pits holding toxic waste from power plants.

    Federal officials expressed confidence that the six nuclear power plants owned and operated by Duke Energy in Hurricane Florence's path are safe; however, some experts aren't so sure, warning that flooding and torrential rains could overwhelm their defenses.



    7:43 p.m. EDT Wednesday:

    The Wilmington Police departments reminded residents to make sure their vehicles are in a secure location away from flood zones. Parking decks are prime locations to store vehicles in case of major flooding.



    4:20 p.m. EDT Wednesday:

    Southwest has canceled all flights in and out of Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT) in Charlotte, North Carolina, starting midday Thursday.

    United Airlines has also canceled all flights in and out of Charleston and Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, starting Thursday and Friday. Flights in and out of Fayetteville Regional Airport (FAY) in Fayetteville, North Carolina, as well as Wilmington International Airport (ILM) in Wilmington, North Carolina, were also canceled through Saturday morning at the earliest.



    3:23 p.m. EDT Wednesday:

    Duke Energy estimated that power outages could total between 1 and 3 million customers in the Carolinas.

    More than 20,000 people are in place to restore power, which will be the largest resource mobilization ever for Duke Energy.

    More than 8,000 Carolinas-based workers will receive assistance from 1,700 workers from Duke Energy Midwest and 1,200 from Duke Energy Florida. An additional 9,400 resources will be coming from other utilities to help.


    For older reports about preparations for Hurricane Florence, click here.

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