Florence: Parts of NC coast under hurricane warning, inland flooding expected

Hurricane Florence continues to be a dangerous Category 4 storm as it heads toward the East Coast with an expected arrival on Friday morning.

The latest:

* Hurricane Watch issued for NC coast; Governor Roy Cooper is urging residents to follow evacuation orders
* Hurricane Florence should make landfall Friday morning
* Expected to bring life-threatening storm surge and rainfall to the Carolinas

9 p.m.

"Everyone in North Carolina needs to take this vicious, life-threatening storm seriously," Gov. Roy Cooper said. "Shelters are opening tonight and will be available to keep you and your family safe out of Hurricane Florence's path."

We answered your questions live on ABC11 at 5 p.m. Watch below.

8 p.m.

Little change to size of Hurricane Florence, it remains a Category 4 storm.

5 p.m.

Hurricane warnings have been issued for much of the North Carolina coastline. The National Hurricane Center expects life-threatening, catastrophic flash flooding and significant river flooding over portions of the Carolinas.

4 p.m.
North Carolina prisons are evacuating offenders and staff to other state facilities.

3:50 p.m.
The City of Raleigh Solid Waste Services will suspend yard waste collection beginning Thursday, September 13. Curbside garbage and recycling pickup will be suspended beginning Friday, September 14.

3:45 p.m.
More than 30 DMV offices in eastern North Carolina and in some central areas will close on Wednesday at noon to prepare for the hurricane. Click here for more information.

3:40 p.m.
GoRaleigh will discontinue all service once the area experiences 35mph sustained winds. Once the conditions have improved buses will begin running and any route detours will be published at www.raleighnc.gov/transit

1:20 p.m.
Amtrak passenger train service traveling in and through North Carolina will be modified starting on Wednesday morning, in anticipation of impacts from Hurricane Florence. More information here.

12:35 p.m.
The North Carolina Zoo will be closed Wednesday through Friday.

12:30 p.m.

The storm is likely to stall over North Carolina, bringing days of rain, Governor Roy Cooper said at a press conference, calling it "extremely dangerous, life threatening, and historic."

"The wind and waves will be like nothing you have ever seen," Cooper said.

11 a.m.
Hurricane Florence is expected to make landfall on Friday at 8 a.m.

A storm surge watch is also in effect for parts of North Carolina. A Storm Surge Watch means there is a possibility of life-threatening inundation, from rising water moving inland from the coastline.

9 a.m.
Because of the impending storm, Cumberland County Schools' Football Games rescheduled from Friday, Sept. 14 to Wednesday, Sept. 12 are now postponed to a date yet to be determined.

8 a.m.

Early Tuesday morning, Hurricane and Storm Surge watches were issued for Edisto Beach, South Carolina, to the North Carolina-Virginia border -- meaning all of North Carolina's coast.

A Tropical Storm Watch was issued for multiple counties including Cumberland, Johnston, Harnett, and Hoke.

The watch is expected to extend toward Wake County later in the day.

The path for Florence is still unclear as it is being steered by an area of high pressure over the western Atlantic.

With the area of high pressure remaining strong, it is expected that the storm will continue on a general West to Northwest track.

5 a.m

At 5 a.m. Tuesday, the storm was located 975 miles East Southeast of Cape Fear, North Carolina, moving West Northwest at 15 mph with a maximum wind of 140 mph.


The storm remains in a favorable area for it to maintain its strength, or even strengthen a bit further, creating the possibility for it to upgrade to a Category 5 storm.

As it approaches the Carolina coast, it is expected to slow down, likely making landfall along the North Carolina coast, possibly near Hatteras, by 2 a.m. Friday.

As this happens, the outer rain bands would start to impact the Outer Banks as early as late Wednesday night, and then reach the Triangle during the afternoon hours on Thursday.

On Monday, multiple counties issued mandatory evacuation orders for residents and visitors and more are expected later in the week.

During a news conference Monday morning, Governor Roy Cooper said North Carolina was is in the "bullseye" of the storm and that it was rapidly getting stronger.

He said Florence will present three threats to the state:

  • Ocean surge from our coast
  • Strong winds that may be higher than we have recently experienced
  • Inland flooding

On Sunday, emergency management teams and first responders were spread out across the state, including 200 National Guard troops, working around the clock to get prepared for Florence's impact.

What should the Triangle/Triad see?

Rain, rain, and more rain!

Winds are going to start to increase, and rain will pick up in intensity.

With the storm slowly moving inland through the day Friday and nearly stalling over or near the Triangle, rain is going to become a major threat during the day on Friday.

Wind will be a threat as well, with the potential for near hurricane-force wind gusts reaching parts of the Triangle, depending on the storm's exact track.

Rainfall amounts of 5-10 inches are possible in the Triangle from Florence if the storm makes landfall, moves inland, and stalls.

However, if the storm slows down and stalls closer to the coast, much less rain may fall and while there still would be downpours and the potential for flooding, it may be on a more localized scale.

As the track of Florence becomes more certain, the amount of rain expected in the Triangle will become more clear.

That being said, it is best now to prepare for major flooding.

Because of the storm, several schools canceled classes and explored contingencies for football games this week.

How can you prepare?

Be vigilant about the progress of Florence and start thinking now about how you will prepare for a potential hurricane later this week.

The best way to do that is by talking with your family about your hurricane plan and have your hurricane kit packed and ready to go.

Also, don't forget about your four-legged friends. Be sure to have a kit ready for them, containing any medications, foods, and stress blankets that they may need.

Many started their hurricane preparations Sunday as water and other basic necessities started flying off of grocery store shelves.

And if you're in Raleigh and couldn't get to the store, city officials say to rely on your tap water because it will be available throughout the storm.
Copyright © 2021 ABC11-WTVD-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved - The Associated Press contributed to this report.