RALEIGH, NC (FOX 46 WJZY) - North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper is urging residents to continue to take Hurricane Florence seriously as the massive storm approaches the Carolina coast.
As of 11 a.m., the Category 2 storm was centered about 145 miles (230 kilometers) east-southeast of Wilmington, North Carolina, and about 195 miles (315 kilometers) east of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Its forward movement slowed to 10 mph (17 kph) and top sustained winds dropped slightly to 105 mph (165 kph). App users click here.
"We cannot underestimate this storm. Our greatest concern about this storm remains the same -- storm surge and massive flooding," Cooper said. Catastrophic effects will be felt across the state. The storm surge is expected to be 9 to 13 feet."
Tropical storm force winds can be expected that are capable of major structure damage in the “tens of thousands” as the hurricane’s bands hit the coast in the coming hours. Driving will be unsafe as roads will be effected by debris and flood waters during storm peaks.
In response to some suggestions that North Carolina is in the clear from storm effects due to Florence shifting further south, Governor Cooper reminds residents outside coastal areas that a wind field extension has replaced the reduced wind speeds confirming the storm as dangerously catastrophic to all in its path.
"There is going to be a lot of rain. We are on the bad side of this storm. Our meteorologists are saying that the rainfall amounts will be devastating in certain areas. Precautions have been taken in low lying areas by local officials."
Officials have set up 108 shelters across the state, which have taken in more than 7,000 evacuees.
Gov. Cooper says he has ordered nearly 3000 national guards to report for duty to assist.
In the coming days North Carolina can expect widespread power outages as Cooper noted Duke Power estimates millions to be effected.
Text "Florence" to 898211 for assistance. You can also call 2-1-1 to speak to a specialist.