RALEIGH, NC (WTVD) — Tropical storm warnings are now in effect for much of central North Carolina as Ian makes his way toward Tar Heel state.
Late Thursday afternoon, Ian regained hurricane status as a Category 1 and was expected to make landfall as a hurricane near Charleston, South Carolina, Friday afternoon.
The storm continued to move north-northeast at 9 mph.
All of this comes after the storm devastated Florida, shutting out power for more than 2 million people and reportedly causing multiple deaths.
Wind gusts began to pick up in North Carolina on Thursday. Wind gusts could be around 20 miles per hour all Thursday, meaning people will need to keep going and secure loose items outside.
The rain will not start until late Thursday or early Friday.
Friday will be a complete washout with virtually all of North Carolina with heavy rainfall over a period of approximately 18 hours.
Heavy rain is likely to fall in central North Carolina before the morning rush and continue into the evening hours. By late Friday evening, however, most of the rain has passed.
A few scattered showers will fall, especially in the morning on Saturday.
What to expect
Most people in central North Carolina can expect tropical storms, meaning heavy rain and high winds.
ABC11 Meteorologist Kweilyn Murphy said central North Carolina can expect between 3 and 7 inches of rain from Ian.
Flooding will not be widespread, but localized flooding is possible in areas with heavy rainfall.
There is also an isolated tornado risk – mainly south and east of the Triangle.
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Wind gusts can sometimes reach 40 miles per hour. That’s strong enough to lift and move some unsecured objects.
Tropical storm warnings are also in effect along the North Carolina coast from the South Carolina border to beyond Morehead City. There are no storm surge warnings in effect in North Carolina yet.
North Carolina prepares for Ian
Governor Roy Cooper declared a state of emergency on Wednesday for the arrival of the remains of Hurricane Ian.
Cooper will provide an update on the preparations at 3 p.m. ABC11 will broadcast that update live on television and in all our apps.
North Carolina’s Emergency Overcharge Overcharge Act is also in effect statewide.
Cooper also authorized the activation of approximately 80 members of the North Carolina National Guard to assist where needed.
Duke Energy officials said they have kept their crews at home in North Carolina in case we see widespread outages. They’ve spent the past few days improving the network and securing equipment, so if there’s an outage, they can respond quickly.
“We do expect outages. We’ll continue to monitor where they will be. But it’s definitely a real storm. People need to take it seriously until it’s out of the area and we can move forward,” said Jeff Brooks, Duke Energy .
At the moment they say they have three major concerns: wind, rain and flooding.
“This is just a kind of storm with all hands on deck. It’s going to be a historic storm. The damage we’re seeing in some areas will have to rebuild the whole network. That’s the kind of conditions they have to deal with there. We’re grateful that we probably won’t see that here, but we can still see a lot of power outages,” Brooks said.
If you do experience a malfunction in your home, Duke energy wants you to report it. You can text the word OFF to 57801, use the Duke energy app, or call them at 800.769.3766.
Once the storm leaves the area, Duke Energy will re-evaluate and allocate crews based on the worst affected areas.
Meanwhile, home repair experts recommend that homeowners take the time before Ian arrives to prepare their home and check their insurance.
WATCH: People living in Triangle flood plains ‘nervous’ about Ian
Destruction in Florida
Hurricane Ian has left a path of destruction in southwestern Florida, trapped people in flooded homes, damaged the roof of a hospital’s intensive care unit and cut power to 2 million people before aiming for the Atlantic coast.
One of the strongest hurricanes to ever hit the United States swept across the Florida peninsula on Wednesday, threatening to cause catastrophic flooding inland, the National Hurricane Center warned.
The center said Ian became an overland tropical storm early Thursday and was expected to emerge over Atlantic waters near the Kennedy Space Center later in the day. Flooding rains continued across the state, and a stretch of the Gulf Coast remained inundated by ocean water, pushed ashore by the massive storm.
“Severe and life-threatening storm surges from 8 to 10 feet above ground level along with destructive waves are underway along Florida’s southwest coast from Englewood to Bonita Beach, including Charlotte Harbor,” the center said.
In Port Charlotte, on Florida’s Gulf Coast, the storm surge flooded a lower emergency room of a hospital even as gusty winds ripped part of the intensive care unit’s roof, according to a doctor who works there.
Water gushed down the ICU, forcing staff to evacuate the hospital’s sickest patients — some of whom were on ventilators — to other floors, said Dr. Birgit Bodine of HCA Florida Fawcett Hospital. Employees tried to mop up the soggy mess with towels and plastic bins.
The medium-sized hospital occupies four floors, but due to the damage, patients were forced into only two. Bodine planned to spend the night there in case there were any injuries from the storm who needed help.
“As long as our patients are doing well and nobody dies or has a bad outcome, that’s what matters,” Bodine said.
Law enforcement officers in nearby Fort Myers received calls from people trapped in flooded homes or from concerned relatives. Pleas were also posted on social media sites, some with video of rubble-covered water sloshing to the eaves of houses.
More than 250 people have been rescued in Orlando after the city suffered “historic flooding” from Hurricane Ian, according to Orlando Chief Charlie Salazar.
In all, 91 people were rescued from the Maxwell apartment complex and 175 people were rescued from the Dockside apartment complex, chief Salazar said. Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer said the city received 14 inches of water from the storm.
About 25% of Orlando is without power, Dyer said. Floods have hit the entire city, with some lakes and other bodies of water “beyond their limits,” the mayor said.
Crews will continue to assess storm damage in Orlando as the city prepares for more rain in the coming days. Search and rescue missions continue.
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Brittany Hailer, a journalist in Pittsburgh, contacted rescuers about her mother in North Fort Myers, whose home was inundated by 1.5 meters of water.
“We don’t know when the water will go down. We don’t know how they will leave, their cars are a total loss,” Hailer said. “Her only way out is on a boat.”
Hurricane Ian turned streets into rivers and blew down trees as it slammed into southwest Florida on Wednesday with 250 mph (241 kph) winds, pushing a wall of storm surge. Ian’s strength at landfall was Category 4 and tied it for the fifth strongest hurricane, measured by wind speed, to ever hit the US
Ian fell overland in a tropical storm early Thursday, but is expected to increase again once the center moves across the Atlantic and threatens the South Carolina coast with near-hurricane-force winds on Friday. Storm surges up to 2 meters high were expected on both sides of the peninsula.
At 5 a.m. Thursday, the storm was about 70 miles southeast of Orlando and 55 miles southwest of Cape Canaveral, with maximum sustained winds of 100 miles per hour and traveling 5 miles per hour toward the cape. 13 kmh), the Miami Hurricane Center said.
Hurricane warnings were downgraded to tropical storm warnings over the Florida peninsula, with widespread, catastrophic flooding likely to continue, the Hurricane Center said.
Tropical storm-force winds extended outwards as far as 465 miles from the center, and nearly the entire state became drenched, with up to 12 inches of rain forecast for parts of northeast Florida, on the coast of Georgia and the lowlands of South Carolina. As much as 6 inches could fall in southern Virginia as the storm moves inland over the Carolinas, the center said.
As of late Wednesday, there were no reported deaths from Ian in the United States. But a boat carrying Cuban migrants sank east of Key West in stormy weather on Wednesday.
The US Coast Guard launched a search and rescue mission for 23 people and managed to locate three survivors about two miles (three kilometers) south of the Florida Keys, officials said. Four other Cubans swam to Stock Island, just east of Key West, the U.S. Border Patrol said. Air crews continued to search for possibly 20 remaining migrants.
The storm tore into Cuba earlier, killing two people and shutting down the country’s electrical grid.
The eye of the hurricane made landfall at Cayo Costa, a barrier island just west of densely populated Fort Myers. As it approached, the water poured out of Tampa Bay.
More than 2 million Florida homes and businesses were without electricity, according to the PowerOutage.us site. Nearly every home and business in three provinces was without power.
Sheriff Bull Prummell of Charlotte County, just north of Fort Myers, announced a curfew between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. “for life-saving purposes,” saying violators could be charged with second-degree felony charges.
“I’m enacting this curfew to protect the people and property of Charlotte County,” Prummell said.
Life-threatening storm surges and hurricane conditions were possible Thursday and Friday along the coasts of northeast Florida, Georgia and South Carolina, where Ian was expected to move inland and dump more rain from shore, the Hurricane Center said.
The governors of South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia and Virginia have all declared a preemptive state of emergency.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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