Heavy traffic moves slowly on I-40 heading to Raleigh as Florence approaches
Hurricane Florence continues to approach the coasts of North and South Carolina. Here’s what Triangle residents should know about the hurricane, two days before it will be felt in the Triangle.
1. The hurricane has shifted. Florence shifted south and west Wednesday morning. The hurricane is predicted to hit the southern North Carolina coast and northwestern South Carolina coast late Thursday night or early Friday. The National Hurricane Center’s forecast cone encompasses Georgia, western North Carolina and Tennessee. Despite the shift, the National Weather Service in Raleigh says the potential impacts in central North Carolina remain the same: strong winds, significant power outages, river and flash flooding.
2. Wednesday should be the last day to prep. The National Weather Service in Raleigh is advising residents to have all the food, emergency items, gas and evacuation plans done by Wednesday, as strong winds are expected along the coast and the Sandhills on Thursday. Here’s a list of what food you need and what should be in your hurricane emergency kit. If you plan to use a generator, make sure you have a carbon monoxide detector.
3. Raleigh could be on the “dirty side” of the storm. If the hurricane continues to move west, as the latest forecast suggests, that would put Raleigh on the east side of the storm. In general, the strongest winds are found on the east side of the storm. Raleigh city officials are asking more than 26,000 Raleigh residents to move to higher ground ahead of the storm, especially residents who live north of Crabtree Creek and south of Walnut Creek. The city is opening four parking decks for free between noon Thursday and 8 a.m. Monday for residents worried about their cars flooding.
4. Gas is demand in the Triangle. If you’ve had a hard time finding a gas station with gas in the Triangle in the past two days, you’re not the only one. AAA expects gas prices to go up in anticipation of the storm, but there was little evidence of that on Tuesday or Wednesday as the average price was $2.674 a gallon, still below the cost it was a month ago. Before you make the drive to a gas station, check gas apps, like GasBuddy, to check which ones actually have fuel.
5. The Triangle is likely to get 7 to 10 inches of rain, according to ABC 11 meteorologist Don Schwenneker. The Triangle will see some rain on Thursday that will then pick up by Friday and continue into early next week , according to ABC 11 meteorologist Chris Hohmann.
6. Know what spots in the Triangle typically flood. Here’s a list of all the areas in Apex, Chapel Hill, Durham, Holly Springs, Raleigh, Wake Forest and Mooresville that typically flood (the list includes interactive maps of the flood-prone areas in most of those cities and towns). Near Crabtree Creek, the Southern States car dealership, the pawn shop Capital Cash and Brown’s Clock Shop have all moved their inventory to higher ground.
7. The Triangle will get winds speeds it hasn’t seen since 1996 Hurricane Fran, Hohmann said. The Triangle at times may experience wind gusts from 50 to 60 miles per hour, Holman predicted. “It’s not an extreme wind event for us, potentially, but it is certainly more than we’ve seen around here since Fran,” Holman said. Sampson and Cumberland counties could experience gusts up to 100 miles per hour, Hohmann said. Residents in the Triangle will begin to experience wind gusts of 39-73 mph by Friday, Schwenneker said.
8. Emergency shelters are open. Emergency shelters in the Triangle began opening Tuesday for evacuees from the coast. Here’s a list of shelters that are open in Chatham, Durham, Johnston, Orange and Wake counties and which ones accept pets. Consider going to a shelter by Wednesday or early Thursday, before the storm arrives, if you live in a flood area or if a health issue makes it risky to stay at home.
9. Schools and universities closed. Most school systems and universities in the Triangle are closed Friday and many will be Thursday, too.
10. Weekend events canceled. From musical festivals to concerts to football games, most weekend events in the Triangle have been canceled.
11. Ask CuriousNC. We’re trying to answer your Hurricane Florence questions at CuriousNC. Ask them using the link at the end of this story.