Hurricane Florence Hits North Carolina: 100,000+ Lose Power; Flood Waters Wash over Beaches into Cities

Ron Brackett
Published: September 14, 2018

Hurricane Florence smashed into eastern North Carolina Thursday with heavy surf and torrential rain that triggered flooding, knocked out power to thousands and felled trees.

The first flooding was reported near N.C. 12, the roadway that runs through the Outer Banks – the chain of barrier islands off the North Carolina coast. The state Transportation Department said water and sand cover the highway near Rodanthe and in Avon, Buxton, and just north of Hatteras Village.

Ahead of the storm, Gov. Roy Cooper ordered a mandatory evacuation of all barrier islands; evacuation orders are usually issued locally, and several areas already ordered evacuations ahead of Cooper's decree.

Scenes of storm surge washing over roads and sloshing into houses on the state's beaches played out all afternoon, including on Avon Beach, Carolina Beach, and Topsail Beach.

At a Thursday evening news conference, Gov. Cooper said flooding also had been reported along the Cape Fear River, which flows south of Wilmington, and at the Bogue Sound south of Morehead City. He said wind and waves are driving water onto roads along the coast.

(MORE: Check the Latest Forecast for Hurricane Florence)

"We in North Carolina have to shift from preparation to determination. We will survive this and endure," Cooper said.

Flooding also worsened Thursday in New Bern, a city of about 30,000 located along the Neuse River when the river overflowed its banks. Roads were covered with flood water in what was expected to be the first of many waves of ever-worsening floods for the city.

WCTI, the ABC affiliate station in New Bern, had to evacuate their studios as flooding started to come into the building.

More than 12.5 inches of rain was measured on Atlantic Beach Thursday night, according to USGS.

According to the state's Emergency Management Division More than 100,000 homes and businesses were without power about 8:45 p.m. Thursday, according to

About 12,000 people are in 126 evacuation shelters, Mike Sprayberry, Emergency Management director, said. The governor said 750,000 to 1 million people heeded the evacuation orders.

Tornado warnings were issued at various times for Dare, Craven, and Carteret counties.

Strong winds and heavy rain were moving across Camp Lejeune on Thursday evening. The camp's Facebook page said all but essential operations were secured, vehicular traffic had stopped, and personnel and base residents were required to remain indoors until normal operations resume.


Many flights into and out of North Carolina have been canceled. Airports urge travelers to check with their airline for the most up-to-date information on flights.

Raleigh-Durham International Airport said about half of the 400 arrivals and departures scheduled for Friday have been canceled because of the weather.

Charlotte Douglas International Airport remains open, but nearly 200 flights have been canceled on Friday. As of 7 p.m. Thursday, 126 arrivals and departures have been canceled for Saturday, according to the website. 

Wilmington International Airport will have no flights coming or going on Thursday or Friday. 

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