NC Governor warns of flooding and wind damage as Michael passes through state Friday
Tropical Storm Michael has left the Carolinas after rumbling through eastern North Carolina Thursday after it brought “life-threatening flash flooding” and “damaging tropical storm-force wind gusts,” according to the National Hurricane Center.
At 11 p.m., Michael had maximum sustained winds of 50 mph as it was moving at 25 mph, although it was expected to pick up speed Thursday night into Friday and Saturday. But not before losing speed.
Current forecast show that “Michael is expected to become a post-tropical low overnight,” the NHC reported. By the very early Friday morning hours, the center of Michael will move off Virginia’s coast and into the Atlantic Ocean.
But only after inflicting significant damage, first in South Carolina during the morning before hitting North Carolina in the afternoon and evening.
One person in North Carolina has died because of the storm, Gov. Roy Cooper said in a Thursday news conference. A man in Iredell County died when a tree fell on a car.
Flash flooding Thursday in Henderson County, just south of Asheville, resulted in “multiple water rescues,” the Henderson County Sheriff’s Office reported at 9 a.m. in a Facebook post.
The Associated Press reported that “20 people were pulled out of neighborhoods inundated by flash flooding.”
In South Carolina, at least 20 people were evacuated from their homes in Columbia Thursday morning because of flooding caused by the storm, according to The State.
North Carolina’s first tornado watch of the day was issued Thursday morning in the Burgaw/Rocky Mount area of eastern North Carolina. Signs of cloud rotation were spotted on radar in an area that included several miles of Interstate 40, said the National Weather Service.
Winds from Michael could be felt up to 275 miles from the center of the storm, at 11 p.m.
“A few tornadoes are possible” through Thursday evening for eastern North Carolina and southeastern Virginia, the NHC said.
Tropical Storm Warnings had been issued for all North Carolina counties in a line east of Boone and Asheville. Many of the same counties were also under flash flood warnings.
A Storm Surge Warning of possible rising water and “life-threatening inundation” was in effect for communities on the N.C. coast from Ocracoke Inlet north to Duck. The National Park Service also warned that portions of NC 12, which connects the state’s barrier islands, could be washed out by the storm surge.
In the 5 p.m. update, the NHC said the sound side of the Outer Banks could see storm-surge flooding of 2 to 4 feet.
Duke Energy reported more than 500,000 outages for customers in North and South Carolina Thursday and Duke Energy reported that number was at 470,473 at 11 p.m. The utility said some of the outages from Michael “could last several days” and anticipated as many as half a million outages across the Carolinas.
Flooding was reported in and around Upstate South Carolina just after dawn, including areas of southbound Interstate 385, near Interstate 85.
Six deaths have been linked to the storm, according to The Washington Post.
Hurricane Michael was a Category 4 storm with 155 mph winds when it made landfall at 12:30 p.m. Wednesday near Mexico Beach on Florida’s Panhandle.
Wind gusts just under 120 mph were reported in Panama City as the storm moved inland, reported the National Hurricane Center.
More than 900 trees were removed from roadways as Michael rolled through South Carolina, according to the SC Department of Transportation, which said there were 28 road or bridge closures related to the storm. As of 4 p.m., there were 2,327 maintenance employees working in response to Michael.