First death during Hurricane Florence confirmed in Pender County

First death during Hurricane Florence confirmed in Pender County

The Piedmont Triad has been on high alert since Hurricane Florence made landfall on the North Carolina coast Friday morning.

The storm is a Category 1 with 75 miles per hour winds and higher gusts.

Flooding has already started in North Carolina and, according to the Washington Post, over 100 are already stranded and in need of rescue. On the morning of September 14, the National Hurricane Centre warned that "catastrophic" flooding and "life-threatening" storm surges were expected to spread inland.

More than a dozen counties in North Carolina are under a tornado watch, with officials also warning of a chance of hail.

Duke Energy Corp, the biggest utility in the area with over 4 million customers, estimated the storm could cause between 1 million and 3 million outages.

"Hurricane Florence is powerful, slow and relentless", he said.

As the climate warms, the way air moves through the atmosphere can become disrupted, possibly blocking these types of storms in place more often.

As of Friday morning, Atlantic Beach, a town on North Carolina's Outer Banks barrier island chain, had already received 76cm of rain, the US Geological Service said.

The NHC said hurricane-force winds extended outward 80 miles from the center of the storm and tropical storm-force winds extended almost 195 miles out. Significant weakening is expected over the weekend.

"NOAA Doppler weather radar data and surface observations indicate that the center of Hurricane Florence has continued to move slowly westward toward the North Carolina-South Carolina border", the weather agency said.

"Very eerie, the wind howling, the rain blowing sideways, debris flying", said Orsa, who lives nearby and feared splintering trees would pummel her house.

It is expected to move across parts of southeastern North Carolina and eastern SC on Friday and Saturday, then head north over the western Carolinas and central Appalachian Mountains early next week, the NHC said.

Officials have warned against entering attics, unless people have a means to cut through to the roof to avoid drowning. A 105 miles per hour wind gust recorded in Wilmington Friday morning was the second-strongest ever.

"In a matter of seconds, my house was flooded up to the waist, and now it is to the chest", she added. "Our meteorologists are saying that the rainfall amounts will be devastating in certain areas", he said Thursday.

"We are expecting several more days of rain and our focus now is getting people away from immediate danger and then we will shift to putting our communities back together", Cooper said Friday.

Florence was one of two major storms on Friday. The crash happened just after 9:30 p.m. and Lee was reportedly wearing a seatbelt and the only one in the vehicle, according to Capt. Kelley Hughes with South Carolina Highway Patrol.