Florence pummels the Carolinas

By Brian Ries, Veronica Rocha, Meg Wagner, Paul P. Murphy and Eric Levenson, CNN

Updated 8:11 a.m. ET, September 17, 2018
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11:22 a.m. ET, September 13, 2018

North Carolina's Cape Fear River could rise 20 feet and set a record

From CNN's Brandon Miller

The Cape Fear River in southeastern North Carolina is expected to rise to record levels as Hurricane Florence hits the East Coast.

The river, currently at just 3.77 feet, will rise more than 20 feet in the next three days, according to data from the National Weather Service.

The rise of the Cape Fear River in Chinquapin will occur as a result of heavy rainfall from Hurricane Florence and storm surge entering the mouth of the river.

It's expected to surpass the previous record of 23.51 feet, set during Hurricane Floyd in 1999.

Here's an image of what nearby Wallace, North Carolina looked like in 1999 during that storm:

An auto salvage yard just outside Wallace, North Carolina, floods after Hurricane Floyd in 1999. Wallace is situated along the northeaster area of the state near Cape Fear River.
An auto salvage yard just outside Wallace, North Carolina, floods after Hurricane Floyd in 1999. Wallace is situated along the northeaster area of the state near Cape Fear River. JOHN ALTHOUSE/AFP/Getty Images

11:00 a.m. ET, September 13, 2018

All flights in and out of Myrtle Beach have been canceled

From CNN's Keith Allen

Airlines have canceled all remaining flights in and out of Myrtle Beach International Airport, according to a statement from the airport.  

Airlines will begin to decide when to resume operations after Hurricane Florence makes landfall, the airport said.

The airport is still open, but there are no commercial operations available and the facility is not operating as a hurricane shelter.

Here's the full statement full statement:

1:50 p.m. ET, September 13, 2018

Here's the latest forecast for Hurricane Florence

Hurricane Florence is still a Category 2 storm, and it has sustained winds of 105 mph, according to the latest forecast advisory from the National Hurricane Center.

The center will release its next forecast at 2 p.m. ET. You can also follow Hurricane Florence's path with CNN's storm tracker.

Here's the latest projection from the 11 a.m. ET update:

10:46 a.m. ET, September 13, 2018

US House cancels Friday votes ahead of Hurricane Florence

From CNN’s Ashley Killough

The US Capitol Building pictured in June 2013
The US Capitol Building pictured in June 2013 Mark Wilson/Getty Images

The US House of Representatives announced that there will be no longer be votes tomorrow.

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy confirmed that decision to cancel votes was to allow members to get home ahead of Hurricane Florence.

The House was previously scheduled to be on recess next week.

10:33 a.m. ET, September 13, 2018

Wilmington could get 8 months' worth of rain in 3 days

From CNN's Brandon Miller

Hurricane Florence was downgraded to a Category 2 storm, but it's still a powerful, dangerous Hurricane. Here's a look at the latest statistics and facts:

  • The size of the hurricane force winds has doubled over the past 48 hours, despite the top wind speed weakening from 130 to 110 mph.
  • The hurricane-force winds cover more than 15,000 square miles. That's larger than the states of Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island combined.
  • Florence’s tropical storm-force winds would stretch from New York City to Toronto
  • Once Hurricane Florence reaches land, it will be moving around 4 mph, which is truly a slow jog (about a 15-minute mile)
  • Parts of the North Carolina coast will see winds gusting over hurricane-force for 24 hours, and they will not fall below tropical storm-force for 72 hours.
  • Wilmington, North Carolina, has already had their rainiest year-to-date, and the city could pick up eight months’ worth of rain in the next three days — which will shatter the all-time rainfall records for the region.
10:26 a.m. ET, September 13, 2018

Even houses built on stilts may flood in the storm surge

CNN's John Berman is in Oak Island, North Carolina, an area that's expecting a possible 9-foot storm surge.

The homes along the beach are built on stilts — but the system may not protect the houses this time. The stilts on many of the houses are about 7 feet tall.

"If we get a 9 foot storm surge, which we're expecting, that means the water's going to wash right over those stilts, right into the living room and kitchen at that house, and the stilts won't make any difference," Berman explained.

Watch more:

10:16 a.m. ET, September 13, 2018

This is how North Carolina is preparing for Florence

From CNN's AnneClaire Stapleton

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper detailed the steps the state has taken ahead of Hurricane Florence. Here are the latest numbers:

  • North Carolina has 108 open shelters with more than 7,000 people occupying them. Officials are working to open even more shelters, Cooper said. 
  • 2,800 National Guard soldiers are ordered to report for duty. 
  • More than 56 school districts now closed. Nearly all University of North Carolina school systems are also closed.

Meanwhile, energy companies are estimating there could be millions of power outages.

“This storm will bring destruction for North Carolina," Cooper said.

Watch more:

5:14 p.m. ET, September 14, 2018

North Carolina governor: We cannot underestimate this storm

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper urged residents to take Hurricane Florence seriously, despite changing forecasts.

"Many North Carolinians see updated storm tracks, changing categories of the hurricane and landfall predictions. I’m concerned because I've even heard some people say that North Carolina's getting a break. Please hear my message: We cannot underestimate this storm," he just said at a news conference.

Cooper continued: “My message today: Don’t relax; don’t get complacent. Stay on guard. this is a powerful storm that can kill, today the threat becomes a reality. Get yourself to a safe place and stay there if you haven’t already” 

He pointed to 2016's Hurricane Matthew, a deadly storm that which wreaked havoc on the Carolina coast.

"Remember that hurricane Matthew didn't even make landfall in North Carolina and look what it did to us," he said.

Watch more:

10:01 a.m. ET, September 13, 2018

Part of North Carolina is under a tornado watch

From CNN's Judson Jones

Part of North Carolina has been put under a tornado watch as Hurricane Florence nears the East Coast. The watch extends from north of the Wilmington area up to Nags Head.

Here's what that means, according to the National Weather Service:

"A Tornado Watch means conditions are favorable for tornadoes and severe thunderstorms in and close to the watch area. Persons in these areas should be on the lookout for threatening weather conditions and listen for later statements and possible warnings."

Watch more from CNN meteorologist Chad Myers: