(CBS)Follow along below for live updates on Hurricane Florence.

Hurricane Florence fast facts

  • Hurricane Florence made landfall near Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina, at about 7:15 a.m., the National Hurricane Center said. The storm weakened slightly to a strong Category 1 storm late Thursday and had 90 mph sustained winds Friday.
  • Police say 150-200 residents have been rescued in New Burn. About 150 others are still awaiting rescue.
  • Life-threatening storm surge and hurricane-force winds were occurring along the North Carolina coast. “Catastrophic” freshwater flooding is expected over portions of the Carolinas.
  • Florence is expected to move further inland across southeastern North Carolina and eastern South Carolina Friday and Saturday. The storm will move generally northward across the western Carolinas and the central Appalachian Mountains early next week.
  • Hurricane-force winds extended outward up to 70 miles from the storm’s center, and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 195 miles, the hurricane center said at 11 a.m.
  • About 20,000 people checked into 157 shelters in North Carolina. There were 400 residents at shelters in Virginia, where the forecast was less dire.
  • At least 525,000 homes and businesses were without power, mostly in North Carolina and nearly 2,100 flights have been canceled through Saturday.
  • 1.7 million people are under mandatory and voluntary evacuations orders, and more than 10 million people live in places under storm watches or warnings.

Florence now a tropical storm

Florence is now a tropical storm but will continue to threaten North and South Carolina with powerful winds and catastrophic freshwater flooding. Its top sustained winds have dropped to 70 mph, and it’s at a near standstill, moving west at just 3 mph.

Tropical storm-force winds extend outward up to 175 miles from its center. Florence is producing tropical storm-force wind gusts in Florence, South Carolina, about 60 miles from the coast, the National Hurricane Center said.

Myrtle Beach weathers the storm

South Carolina’s most popular tourist destination is riding out Florence without major problems so far.

In North Myrtle Beach, rain has been falling nearly all day and tree branches and limbs are on some roads. The power is out on the main strip, but almost no vehicles are on the six-lane highway through the center of town other than police.

North Myrtle Beach spokesman Pat Dowling says three-quarters of the area’s 37,000 electric customers are without power.

To the south, Myrtle Beach was faring better. Power outages were spotty, and Myrtle Beach spokesman Mark Kruea says no significant property damage has been reported.

No areas in South Carolina reported problems with surge from the ocean as winds continued from the land pushing water away.

5 deaths reported in North Carolina

At least five people were killed during the storm, authorities said. A mother and an infant were killed when a tree fell onto their home in Wilmington on Friday. The father was injured and transported to a nearby hospital, The Wilmington Police Department said.

Images showed firefighters responding to the scene and kneeling to pray. The firefighters were shaken up by what they witnessed at the scene, CBS affiliate WWAYreports.

Two people were killed in Kinston as a result of the hurricane, Roger Dail of Lenoir County Emergency Services. A 78-year-old male was electrocuted at a residence Friday morning when he attempted to connect two extension cords outside in the rain, Dail said. His body was discovered by family members.

The body of a 77-year-old male was discovered by his family Friday morning at his residence. His death is believed to be caused by being blown down by the wind as he checked on his hunting dogs, Dail said.

Another death was reported in Pender County. Emergency crews were using a front-end loader to clear a path to reach to a woman having a heart attack at the height of the storm, Pender County spokesperson Tammy Proctor said. However, operations were stopped when a tree branch fell and shattered the windshield of their front-end loader. They were unable to reach her in time, Proctor said.

Authorities said one person was killed while plugging in a generator in Lenoir County.

“Our hearts go out to the families of those who died in this storm,” North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper said in a statement. “Hurricane Florence is going to continue its violent grind across our state for days. Be extremely careful and stay alert.”

Trump to visit areas affected by hurricane

President Trump is preparing to travel to areas affected by Hurricane Florence next week. White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said Mr. Trump will travel to the region “early to middle of next week.”

She said his trip will take place “once it is determined his travel will not disrupt any rescue or recovery efforts.”

Aides said Mr. Trump has been monitoring the massive storm from the White House

​North Carolina flooding expected to worsen

The National Weather Service says 14 to 15 inches of rain has already fallen north of Swansboro, North Carolina, and it’s only going to get worse. Weather Prediction Center senior forecaster David Roth said catastrophic flash flooding is expected to continue to worsen Friday.

Roth said the heavy rainfall for southeast North Carolina is only one-third to one-quarter the way over.

“Plenty of heavy rain remains in the future for this region,” Roth wrote in the weather center’s rain forecast discussion.

​More than 2,100 flights grounded

Airlines have canceled more than 2,100 U.S. flights from the storm’s approach on Wednesday through Sunday, according to tracking service FlightAware. The region’s two largest airports, in Charlotte and Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina, had more than 200 cancellations on Friday.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) says Charleston International Airport in South Carolina isn’t expected to reopen until Monday night. Wilmington International in North Carolina expects to reopen at noon Saturday.

​Rainfall totals could be staggering

Ryan Maue, a meteorologist at weathermodels.com, calculates that Florence is forecast to dump about 18 trillion gallons of rain in seven days over the Carolinas and Virginia, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky and Maryland.

That doesn’t quite measure up to the 25 trillion gallons Harvey dropped on Texas and Louisiana last year. Maue said Harvey stalled longer and stayed closer to the coast, which enabled it to keep sucking moisture from the Gulf of Mexico.

Still, 18 trillion gallons is as much water as there is in the entire Chesapeake Bay. It’s enough to cover the entire state of Texas with nearly four inches of water. That much rain is 2.4 trillion cubic feet. It’s enough to cover Manhattan with nearly 3,800 feet of water, more than twice as high as the island’s tallest building.

North Carolina alone is forecast to get 9.6 trillion gallons, enough rain to cover the Tar Heel state in about 10 inches of water. Maue calculates that 34 million people will get at least 3 inches, with more than 5.7 million getting at least a foot and about 1.5 million getting 20 inches or more.

Feds suspend immigration arrests

Homeland Security officials say they won’t do any active enforcement during evacuations or in shelters during Hurricane Florence, and that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers are focused on the preservation of life and safety.

The Trump administration has stepped up arrests of people living in the country illegally, but during this storm they say they won’t enforce immigration laws unless there’s a serious public safety threat. Immigration officers have been dispatched to help with response and recovery as Florence lashes North and South Carolina with life-threatening winds, rain and floods.

Jeff Byard of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) says saving lives is the priority, and anyone fearing for their safety should call 911 for help. Federal officials say they don’t want people to fear going to shelters.

North Carolina governor says Florence is “wreaking havoc”

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper says Florence is “wreaking havoc” in parts of his state and he’s concerned “whole communities” could be wiped away. He said parts of the state has seen storm surges as high as 10 feet.

RIVER BEND, NC – SEPTEMBER 13: The Trent River (background) overflows its banks and floods a neighborhood during Hurricane Florence September 13, 2018 in River Bend, North Carolina. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Cooper said the state hasn’t seen any Florence-related fatalities so far, but he’s concerned about people’s safety as the storm continues. “To those in the path, if you can hear me, please stay sheltered in place,” he said in a news conference Friday. “Do not go out in the storm.”

Transportation Secretary Jim Trogdon said the state is expecting 1,000-year “flood events” in areas between Wilmington and Charlotte.

Florence hovering near Cape Fear

The center of Hurricane Florence is hovering inland near Cape Fear, North Carolina. It remains a Category 1 hurricane with top sustained winds of 80 mph, but stronger wind gusts have been reported.

Florence was centered about 20 miles southwest of Wilmington, North Carolina, and about 55 miles east-northeast of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, the National Hurricane Center said in its 11 a.m. advisory. It was crawling west-southwest at 3 mph, lifting huge amounts of ocean moisture and dumping it far from the coast.

Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 70 miles from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 195 miles.

150 residents stranded in New Bern

New Bern, North Carolina, is one of the areas hit hardest by Florence. About 150 people are waiting to be rescued after more than 10 feet of powerful storm surge flooded the small city. A mandatory evacuation order was issued for the area earlier this week.

NEW BERN, NC – SEPTEMBER 13: Residents wade through deep floodwater to retrieve belongings from the Trent Court public housing apartments after the Neuse River went over its banks during Hurricane Florence September 13, 2018 in New Bern, United States. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Police said 150-200 residents have already been rescued in New Bern and 150 or more people are awaiting rescue, CBS News’ Kris Van Cleave reports. Water levels are expected to rise further Friday during high tide.

First accounts of rescues emerging

One of the areas hardest hit by Hurricane Florence so far is New Bern, North Carolina, where about 100 people were waiting to be rescued early Friday after more than 10 feet of powerful storm surge flooded the area. A mandatory evacuation order was issued for the area earlier this week.

Police say 150-200 residents have already been rescued in the small city.

As the storm slowly churned toward shore, people who chose not to evacuate got caught in the floodwaters. They tried desperately to return to their homes as the Neuse River overflowed its banks.

JAMES CITY, NC – SEPTEMBER 14: Volunteers from the Civilian Crisis Response Team rescue a man with chest pains from his flooded home September 14, 2018 in James City, North Carolina. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

The city of New Bern tweeted to its residents early Friday morning, “We have 2 out-of-state FEMA teams here for swift water rescue. More are on the way to help us. WE ARE COMING TO GET YOU.”

New Bern residents were putting out calls for help on social media, claiming they couldn’t get through to 911. Lt. David Daniels of the New Bern Police Department told “CBS This Morning” 911 calls in his town were being answered and the “system is up and working.”

Meanwhile, CBS Greenville, North Carolina affiliate WNCT-TV reports that more than 60 people, including an infant and children, were rescued from a hotel in Jacksonville, N.C. after strong winds threatened the structural integrity of the building.

Florence arrives, danger in tow

Hurricane Florence was making a marathon landfall in North Carolina early Friday, pushing a life-threatening storm surge of floodwaters miles inland and ripping apart buildings with screaming wind and pelting rain.

More than 60 people had to be pulled from a collapsing motel at the height of the storm, reports CBS Greenville, North Carolina affiliate WNCT-TV. Many more who defied evacuation orders were hoping to be rescued. Pieces of buildings ripped apart by the storm flew through the air.

Most ominously, forecasters said the terrifying onslaught would last for hours and hours, because Florence was barely creeping along and still drawing energy from the ocean.

Coastal streets flowed with frothy ocean water and tens of thousands lost electricity. Forecasters said “catastrophic” freshwater flooding was expected along waterways far from the coast of the Carolinas.

Hurricane Florence’s projected path as of 8 a.m. on September 14, 2018 (NOAA)

Winds bent trees toward the ground and raindrops flew sideways as Florence moved in for an extended stay, with enough of its killer winds swirling overseas to maintain its power. Forecasters said the onslaught could last for days, leaving a wide area under water from both heavy downpours and rising seas.

The National Hurricane Center said a gauge in Emerald Isle, North Carolina, reported 6.3 feet of inundation. Emerald Isle is about 84 miles north of Wilmington, North Carolina.

And about 46 miles farther up the waterfront, in New Bern, two FEMA teams were working on swift-water rescues and more were on the way.

The worst of the storm’s fury had yet to reach coastal South Carolina, where emergency managers said people could still leave flood-prone areas.

“There is still time, but not a lot of time,” said Derrec Becker of the South Carolina Department of Emergency Management.

North Carolina corrections officials said more than 3,000 people were relocated from adult prisons and juvenile centers in the path of Florence, and more than 300 county prisoners were transferred to state facilities.

Officials said some 1.7 million people in the Carolinas and Virginia were warned to evacuate, but it’s unclear how many did. The homes of about 10 million were under watches or warnings for the hurricane or tropical storm conditions.

Coastal towns in the Carolinas were largely empty, and schools and businesses closed as far south as Georgia.

Forecasters said conditions will continue to deteriorate as the storm makes its way slowly inland. Its surge could cover all but a sliver of the Carolina coast under as much as 11 feet of ocean water, and days of downpours could unload more than 3 feet of rain, touching off severe flooding.

Forecasters said that given the storm’s size and sluggish track, it could cause epic damage akin to what the Houston area saw during Hurricane Harvey just over a year ago, with floodwaters swamping homes and businesses and washing over industrial waste sites and hog-manure ponds.

The hurricane was seen as a major test for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which was heavily criticized as slow and unprepared for Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico last year.

Power outages along the coast

At least 490,000 homes and businesses were without power, mostly in North Carolina, according to poweroutage.us, which tracks the nation’s electrical grid.

The numbers are expected to soar as the storm’s winds and torrential rains sweep over more land. Duke anticipates 1 million to 3 million of their 4 million customers in the Carolinas will lose power from Florence.

Hurricane Florence could inflict the hardest hurricane punch North Carolina has seen in more than 60 years. In 1954, the state was hit by a Category 4 storm, Hurricane Hazel.

“Hazel stands as a benchmark storm in North Carolina’s history,” said Jay Barnes, author of books on the hurricane histories of both North Carolina and Florida. “We had a tremendous amount of destruction all across the state.”

“The worst of the storm is not yet here but these are early warnings of the days to come,” Cooper says

Hurricane Florence already has inundated coastal streets with ocean water and left tens of thousands without power, and forecasters say conditions will only worsen as the hulking storm slogs inland.

Screaming winds bent trees toward the ground and raindrops flew sideways as Florence’s leading edge whipped the Carolina coast Thursday to begin an onslaught that could last for days, leaving a wide area under water from both heavy downpours and rising seas.

The storm’s intensity diminished as it neared land, with winds dropping to around 90 mph by nightfall. But that, combined with the storm’s slowing forward movement and heavy rains, had Gov. Roy Cooper warning of an impending disaster.

“The worst of the storm is not yet here but these are early warnings of the days to come,” he said. “Surviving this storm will be a test of endurance, teamwork, common sense and patience.”

Cooper requested additional federal disaster assistance in anticipation of what his office called “historic major damage” across the state.

More than 80,000 people were already without power as the storm began buffeting the coast, and more than 12,000 were in shelters. Another 400 people were in shelters in Virginia, where forecasts were less dire.Prisoners were affected, too. North Carolina corrections officials said more than 3,000 people were relocated from adult prisons and juvenile centers in the path of Florence, and more than 300 county prisoners were transferred to state facilities.

Officials said some 1.7 million people in the Carolinas and Virginia were warned to evacuate, but it’s unclear how many did. The homes of about 10 million were under watches or warnings for the hurricane or tropical storm conditions.

Spanish moss waved in the trees as the winds picked up in Wilmington, and floating docks bounced atop swells at Morehead City. Ocean water flowed between homes and on to streets on the Outer Banks; waves crashed against wooden fishing piers.

Coastal towns in the Carolinas were largely empty, and schools and businesses closed as far south as Georgia.

Hurricane Florence watches, warnings & evacuations

A Storm Surge Warning is in effect for:

  • South Santee River South Carolina to Duck, North Carolina
  • Albemarle and Pamlico Sounds, including the Neuse and Pamlico Rivers

A Storm Surge Watch is in effect for

  • Edisto Beach, South Carolina to South Santee River, South Carolina

A Hurricane Warning is in effect for:

  • South Santee River, South Carolina to Duck, North Carolina
  • Albemarle and Pamlico Sounds

A Hurricane Watch is in effect for:

  • Edisto Beach, South Carolina to South Santee River, South Carolina

A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for:

  • North of Duck, North Carolina to Cape Charles Light, Virginia
  • Chesapeake Bay south of New Point Comfort
  • Edisto Beach, South Carolina to South Santee River, South Carolina

Hurricane Florence affecting flights & car travel

Airlines canceled about 1,200 flights and counting. As of Thursday afternoon, total cancellations within, into or out of the U.S. was 603 for the day, while 650 flights were canceled for Friday, according to flight-tracking service FlightAware.

CBS News correspondent David Begnaud reported this week that people living in the barrier island community of Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina, were bracing for a possible direct impact. Long lines formed at service stations, and some started running out of gas as far west as Raleigh, with bright yellow bags, signs or rags placed over the pumps to show they were out of order. Some store shelves were picked clean.

“There’s no water. There’s no juices. There’s no canned goods,” Kristin Harrington said as she shopped at a Wal-Mart in Wilmington.

South Carolina said it is planning to end the reversal of some interstate lanes that were switched to help move people away from the state’s coast. Department of Public Safety Director Leroy Smith told reporters that, starting Thursday at 6 p.m., officers will close Interstate 26 lanes that had been switched from eastbound to westbound to move people away from the Charleston area toward the center of the state.

Many officers are on the road during lane reversals, manning each exit and ensuring drivers don’t drive around barricades. The change allows agencies like Smith’s to pull back their officers when tropical storm-force winds are expected to arrive in the state.

Comments