Florence’s Eyewall Makes Landfall in Southeastern North Carolina, Speaker Urges Residents to Remain Prepared

Storm’s growth and slower speed to combine for costly toll

Raleigh, N.C. – As Hurricane Florence made landfall in southeastern North Carolina, Friday morning brought grim new predictions from weather trackers about the impact of the now-Category 1 storm.

The center of the eye was estimated to have made landfall near Wrightsville Beach, N.C. at 7:15 a.m on Friday,  with maximum sustained winds at an estimated 90 miles-per-hour.

Despite the storm weakening from a peak Category 4 ranking, it has grown in overall size significantly and is slowing down substantially, a combination that could take a costly toll of catastrophic flooding.  Hundreds of thousands were already without power on Friday morning.

Widespread flash flooding and river overruns were predicted across coastal and eastern North Carolina with a potential for waterspouts and tornadoes before, during and following Florence’s landfall.

Life-threatening storm surges have reached the coast and hurricane force wind bands are spreading into eastern North Carolina.  Heavy saturation of the ground and high-speed winds will result in downed trees and power lines across the region.

State House Speaker Tim Moore urged residents to pray for their fellow North Carolinians in the storm’s path and provided planning and response resources from emergency management agencies and power companies:

“This morning’s updates demonstrate the urgent danger facing millions of our friends, families and neighbors – take every measure available to prepare now for the worst, especially those who should still safely seek higher ground,” Moore said.   

State lawmakers planned to continue providing updates of any briefings they hold with emergency management agencies on Friday.  Legislators released details of their briefings Monday and Wednesday.

“To North Carolinians on the coast and across the east, from the piedmont to the foothills and mountains – and our neighbors – stay safe in this storm,” Moore said.

“Thank you for coming together to prepare and care for one another, and God bless our first responders headed towards harm’s way.

Mobile And Online Resources:

For questions regarding Hurricane Florence, please call 211 or 888-892-1162, and use 911 only in case of emergencies.  Text “Florence” to 898211 for assistance. If you haven’t downloaded the ReadyNC mobile app, do so by clicking here.

For the latest updates on the storm, visit hurricanes.gov.  To follow updates from FEMA on Florence, please visit their website here.  For additional resources, visit readync.org or ready.gov.  Recursos en español.

Preparing For The Storm:

  • Turn on your TV or radio in order to get the latest weather updates and emergency instructions.
  • Restock your emergency preparedness kit. Include food and water sufficient for at least three days, medications, a flashlight, batteries, cash, and first aid supplies.
  • Plan how to communicate with family members if you lose power. For example, you can call, text, email or use social media. Remember that during disasters, sending text messages is usually reliable and faster than making phone calls because phone lines are often overloaded.
  • Review your evacuation zone, evacuation route and shelter locations. Plan with your family. You may have to leave quickly so plan ahead.
  • Keep your car in good working condition, and keep the gas tank full; stock your vehicle with emergency supplies and a change of clothes.
  • Bookmark your city or county website for quick access to storm updates and emergency instructions.
  • Bring loose, lightweight objects inside that could become projectiles in high winds (e.g., patio furniture, garbage cans); anchor objects that would be unsafe to bring inside (e.g., propane tanks); and trim or remove trees close enough to fall on the building.
  • If possible, cover all of your home’s windows. Permanent storm shutters offer the best protection for windows. A second option is to board up windows with 5/8” exterior grade or marine plywood, cut to fit and ready to install.
  • Be prepared to lose power for several days. Charge electronic devices, spare external cell phone batteries, turn refrigerators to their lowest setting and only open when necessary.
  • Checklist of emergency supplies
  • Evacuation and shelter information

During The Storm:

  • If told to evacuate, do so immediately. Do not drive around barricades.
  • If sheltering during high winds, go to a FEMA safe room, ICC 500 storm shelter, or a small, interior, windowless room or hallway on the lowest floor that is not subject to flooding.
  • If trapped in a building by flooding, go to the highest level of the building. Do not climb into a closed attic. You may become trapped by rising flood water.
  • Listen for current emergency information and instructions.
  • Use a generator or other gasoline-powered machinery outdoors ONLY and away from windows.
  • Do not walk, swim, or drive through flood waters. Turn Around. Don’t Drown! Just six inches of fast-moving water can knock you down, and one foot of moving water can sweep your vehicle away.
  • Stay off of bridges over fast-moving water.

After The Storm:

  • Listen to authorities for information and special instructions.
  • Be careful during clean-up. Wear protective clothing and work with someone else.
  • Do not touch electrical equipment if it is wet or if you are standing in water. If it is safe to do so, turn off electricity at the main breaker or fuse box to prevent electric shock.
  • Avoid wading in flood water, which can contain dangerous debris. Underground or downed power lines can also electrically charge the water.
  • Save phone calls for emergencies. Phone systems are often down or busy after a disaster. Use text messages or social media to communicate with family and friends.
  • Document any property damage with photographs. Contact your insurance company for assistance.

Duke Energy, the state’s largest power provider, released other recommendations and reminders to residents:

High-water and flooding safety reminders

Learn about your county’s emergency plans, warning signals, evacuation routes and locations of emergency shelters. Visit ready.govfor more information.

·      Turn off your power at the circuit breaker panel or fuse box if rising water threatens your home or if you evacuate your home.

·      Stay away from downed power lines and electrical wires. DO NOT drive over or stand near downed power lines. Electric current passes easily through water.

·      People who live along lakes and rivers, and in other low-lying areas should pay close attention to local emergency management officials, national weather service and media for changing weather conditions and rising lake and river levels.

·      Know where high ground is and move there quickly if you see or hear rapidly rising water.

·      Heed warning signs posted near threatening areas, and avoid boating and swimming in these areas.

Watch for strong currents, wear life jackets and stay alert to changing weather conditions.