A 61-year-old woman died in South Carolina when her car hit a tree that fell in Hurricane Florence, according to South Carolina Office of Emergency Management spokesman Antonio Diggs.
Diggs said the woman was driving in Union County on Friday but did give any additional details.
This is the first death reported in South Carolina linked to the storm. Five people have died in North Carolina:
- A mother and her infant child died in Wilmington after a tree fell on their house, the city’s police department said.
- In the town of Hampstead, a woman in cardiac arrest was found dead after emergency responders found their path blocked by downed trees, assistant county manager for Pender County, said.
- Two men in Lenoir County also died: One who was hooking up a generator and another who was checking on his dogs outside.
The American Red Cross says more than 150 blood drives have been canceled through early next week in Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia because of Florence.
Those cancelations will result in more than 4,400 uncollected blood and platelet donations, the organization said.
“We need platelet blood donations now, and in the coming days, to recover the donations canceled by the storm,” the Red Cross said in a statement.
The organization is encouraging residents in unaffected areas to donate blood to help.
Florence is unloading “epic amounts of rainfall,” North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper said in a press conference Saturday.
“The flood danger from this storm is more immediate today than when it made landfall 24 hours ago,” he said.
Cooper also offered advice for residents:
- “If you are safe, stay put. We know that people are anxious to get back home. But don’t go back until this storm passes and you get the official all clear.”
- “Water is rising fast everywhere, even in places that don’t typically flood. Many people who think that the storm has missed them have yet to see its threat.“
- “Remember, most storm deaths occur from drowning in fresh water, often in cars. Don’t drive across standing or moving water.“
On top of the advice, Cooper shared some words of hope and inspiration.
“We in North Carolina have been through tough storms and this one is sure testing us,” he said. “But now is the time for us to persevere. I have never known North Carolinians to quit in the face of a challenge and we’re not about to start.”
A volunteer rescue truck drives underneath a fallen tree in New Bern, North Carolina.
The National Weather Service is tracking wind speeds across North Carolina.
Here’s a look at some of the peak gusts recorded across the state:
- New River inlet: 112 mph
- Fort Macon: 105 mph
- Wilmington International Airport: 105 mph
- Cape Lookout: 97 mph
- Cedar Island: 89 mph
- Cherry Point: 87 mph
- Jacksonville: 86 mph
- Frisco Woods: 80 mph
- Ocracoke: 80 mph
Officials from the Federal Emergency Management Agency just gave an update on how they’re handling Florence. They said they believe they have adequate supplies including meals and generators.
Here are the latest numbers FEMA provided:
- 6,500 National Guard have deployed. Another 2,900 active duty are also standing by.
- 7,500 Coast Guard have deployed.
- 43 helicopters are in use, and the Coast Guard is beginning to conduct flights to assess damage and the situation on the ground.
- The military has 1,300 high-water trucks working and available in the region.
- The Army Corps of Engineers has 120 generators available in the region and more are on the way.
- US Health & Human Services has 560 personnel deployed, mostly assisting individuals at shelters with their health care needs.
- The one number we don’t have? There’s no cost estimate from FEMA for this storm. However, “This is going to be a costly storm,” officials said.
More than 960,000 power outages have been reported in North and South Carolina due to the storm.
809,665 power outages have been reported in North Carolina. 155,097 power outages have been reported in South Carolina.
That’s 964,762 customers total without power.
But keep in mind: These numbers reflect the customers without power, not people. A lot of those customers might have multiple people in their households, meaning the number of people without power could be even higher.
Parts of North Carolina have seen more than two feet of rain. The city of Swansboro alone has gotten more than 30 inches — which breaks the all-time record for rainfall in a tropical system in the state of North Carolina.
Here’s a breakdown of the top rain fall reports across the state. But note: These are only from stations that are still reporting. It’s unclear how many stations broke during Florence.
- Swansboro: 30.58 inches
- Hofmann: 25.87 inches
- Newport/Morehead City: 23.75 inches
- Emerald Isle: 23.49 inches
- Elizabethtown: 20.17 inches
- Croatan: 19.89 inches
- Cedar Point: 19.25 inches
- Mount Olive: 16.80 inches
- Jacksonville: 16.13 inches
- Kinston: 16.01 inches
Horry County spokesperson Kelly Brosky said her South Carolina county has some localized flooding but is otherwise doing pretty well. That might change soon though.
“We anticipate more serious flooding next week,” she said.
For now, the situation seems to be under control. There aren’t any major road closures and officials are getting crews on the field to focus on fallen trees and power restoration.
About 87,000 people are without power, and 2,700 people are in shelters, Brosky said.
Tropical Storm Florence now has maximum sustained winds of 45 mph, according to the National Weather Service.
It’s still crawling westward across South Carolina at just 2 mph, which is about as fast as you walk.
“Heavy rains and catastrophic flooding continue across portions of North Carolina and South Carolina,” the service said in an update.
Of note: Florence is about 40 miles south of Florence, South Carolina.