River and street flooding, fallen trees and the threat of tornadoes spread across North Carolina on Thursday as Michael forged a path through the state, prompting the governor to urge people to avoid travel until the storm clears the area tonight and tomorrow.
One death is being linked to the storm in North Carolina. Gov. Roy Cooper said in a Thursday evening press conference that a man died when a tree fell on a car in Iredell County.
More than 100 roads had been shut down because of flooding and downed trees, in addition to 75 roads still closed because of Hurricane Florence, Cooper and the N.C. Department of Transportation announced in a Thursday evening press conference, warning people to stay off the roads.
“Central and Eastern North Carolina have several more hours of heavy wind and rain to go,” Cooper said. “As night falls, please don’t go out unless you have to. Travel conditions are difficult in areas. Don’t drive on flooded roads if you must go out.”
As of 4 p.m., the North Carolina Highway Patrol had responded to 450 collisions and 780 calls for service and officials asked that people not call 911 unless it is an emergency.
There were “dozens” of water rescues and evacuations on Thursday, many in the mountain counties of Henderson and McDowell, Cooper said.
Much of the state was under flash flood or tornado watches or warnings, Division of Emergency Management Director Mike Sprayberry said. More than 6 inches of rain had already fallen in the western part of the state as of Thursday morning, Cooper said.
“Tonight I urge people to hunker down and stay safe until Michael blows through,” Cooper said Thursday evening.
Major flooding is expected on the Haw River and moderate flooding on the Tar and Rocky rivers on Thursday and Friday.
There were hundreds of thousands of power outages in the state, and crews began to repair them Thursday.