McCrory says Matthew now poses deadly threat; Hurricane warnings issued in NC

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Gov. Pat McCrory said Hurricane Matthew has shifted and now poses a deadly threat to North Carolinians.

“What we feared is now happening in North Carolina,” he said. “We did not want a change in the model, but the model has changed dramatically.”

McCrory said the new track, which shifted the storm north, prompting hurricane warnings in parts of North Carolina raises the risk of flooding. Matthew is now a Category 1, according to the 8 a.m. update.

“The immediate concern is now life-threatening rain and water throughout our state,” he said.

Several areas near the coast now have evacuations ongoing, he said.

Click for more maps related to Hurricane Matthew

The Category 3 storm battered the Florida coast and has slowly move up the east coast.

While the brunt of the storm has weakened as it’s moved north from the Florida coast, some areas of our state will still see heavy rain as the storm nears the coast. That includes areas that recently received a thorough drenching from the remnants of Tropical Storm Julia.

LATEST FORECAST: Click here for the latest from the CBS North Carolina weather team

The National Weather Service has issued a Tropical Storm Warning for Coastal Waters from Surf City to Duck including Pamlico Sound and Albamarle Sound; and for the counties of Robeson, Bladen, Columbus, Duplin, Onslow, Greene, Lenoir, Pitt, Jones, Craven, Carteret, Dare, Pamlico, Beaufort, Martin, Washington, Tyrell, Hyde.

A Flash Flood Watch has been issued for all of central North Carolina.

The coastal areas of the state may get hammered by heavy rains and wind. Hurricane warnings have now been issued in southeast North Carolina in Brunswick, New Hanover and Pender counties.

Gov. McCrory said he’s about worried about current projections of Hurricane Matthew that show the storm could lead to heavier rains than previously estimated at or near the coast and power outages from high winds.

McCrory said Friday morning rainfall totals could exceed a foot in parts of southeastern North Carolina, with the most activity starting Friday night through Sunday morning.

He said flooding is likely throughout central and eastern portions of the state.

Though Durham and Orange counties are not under watches, they could still receive up to four inches of rain on Saturday. Wake County is now under a flood watch and some estimates for the Triangle show up to seven inches of rain.

Areas such as Fayetteville, Sanford, Goldsboro and Clinton could see up to nine inches of rain.

Coupled with gusty winds, areas of central and eastern North Carolina could see isolated trees down and power outages.

McCrory warned of wind gusts up to 40 mph inland and up to 70 mph in coastal areas.

Late Thursday night Duke Energy began using automated calls to warn customers of possible power outages and urging them to have a plan and to check the company’s website. McCrory echoed Duke Energy’s warning and said that residents need to be prepared and to expect outages, some that may last more than 24 hours.

McCrory said that trucks, boats and equipment staged in Kinston will make its way to Elizabethtown, New Bern and Williamston. Storm-related issues are expected in Southport.

Gov. McCrory warned N.C. residents to be prepared for Hurricane Matthew (Kenneth Roundtree/CBS North Carolina)
Gov. McCrory warned N.C. residents to be prepared for Hurricane Matthew (Kenneth Roundtree/CBS North Carolina)

Local swift water rescue teams are in Brunswick, New Hanover, Onslow, Pitt, Wilson, Cumberland and Craven counties.

Sixty National Guard high-water vehicles have been staged in Laurinburg, Sanford, Elizabethtown, New Bern and Williamston.

The governor said that the state’s Emergency Operations Center will transition to 24-hour operations beginning at 7 a.m. Saturday and there will be around 100 people in the building in Raleigh.

More than a million people are under evacuation orders in Florida. Hundreds of thousands have already left coastal areas of South Carolina, but Gov. Nikki Haley said another half-million people need to leave.

McCrory said North Carolina is sending two swift water rescue teams, two medical evacuation buses, one Helio Aquatic Rescue Team and liaison personnel to South Carolina.

He also said that Florida Gov. Rick Scott personally requested a mobile disaster hospital from North Carolina. McCrory said they’re working out details of how to get the hospital to Florida while avoiding the hurricane.

If you or someone you know has evacuated to the Triangle due to Hurricane Matthew here’s a list of hotels with available rooms in the area.

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