Florence pummels the Carolinas

By Brian Ries, Veronica Rocha, Meg Wagner, Paul P. Murphy and Eric Levenson, CNN
8:11 a.m. ET, September 17, 2018
3:34 p.m. ET, September 14, 2018

This storm is bigger, stronger and scarier than Florence

Meanwhile, in the Pacific Ocean, Super Typhoon Mangkhut just made landfall in the northern Philippines as the equivalent of a category 5 hurricane.

The Philippines is evacuating thousands of people, deploying soldiers and positioning emergency provisions as Mangkhut threatens more than four million people in the north of the country.

Here are some more details on Mangkhut's incredible strength:

  • Wind speeds are up to 165 mph, or 270 kilometers per hour.
  • Gusts are as high as 200 mph, or 325 kilometers per hour.
  • The typhoon force winds, or those above 74 mph, stretch from its center for about 168 miles.
  • The tropical storm force winds extend 550 miles across in Super Typhoon Mangkhut. Compare that to Hurricane Florence, where tropical storm force winds extend 350 miles.
  • More than 30 million people are expected to receive the Tropical Storm force winds on the island of Luzon.
  • A total of 15,328 people were evacuated in three regions of northern Luzon, according to National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council’s spokesperson Edgar Posada.

Side-by-side images of Hurricane Florence and Super Typhoon Mangkhut show the difference in their sizes.

1:32 p.m. ET, September 14, 2018

Hurricane Florence is the latest setback to struggling flood insurance program

From CNN's Chris Isidore

A truck is seen in floodwaters caused by 2017's Hurricane Harvey.

Hurricane Florence is poised to bring flooding and destruction to thousands of homes in the Carolinas and Virginia, and another blow to the federal program meant to insure homeowners and businesses against flood damage.

Most private insurance policies don't protect against damage from floods caused by rain, overflowing rivers or storm surge. For that damage, the National Flood Insurance Program, which is run by FEMA, provides most of the coverage.

The cost of claims is supposed to be covered by the premiums paid by policyholders. But attempts by Congress to raise premiums enough to cover actual damages caused an outcry from those living in flood zones. That prompted Congress to back off plans to raise rates and place limits how much premiums can be increased.

And that only added to massive losses in the program.

Last year with hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria, the program paid out $8.7 billion to policyholders, the third highest total in the program's history.

Read more.

1:27 p.m. ET, September 14, 2018

Wilmington's curfew starts at 10 p.m. ET

From CNN's AnneClaire Stapleton

Residents look at downed tree as Hurricane Florence passes over Wilmington, North Carolina, Friday

New Hanover County and the City of Wilmington are implementing a curfew tonight, officials in North Carolina said.

The curfew will go into effect at 10 p.m. ET, and will remain in place until 6 a.m. tomorrow.

1:11 p.m. ET, September 14, 2018

Watch waves crash in a North Carolina man's front yard

The yard of Ben Johnson's Belhaven, North Carolina, home has become an ocean.

He shot footage of waves crashing onto his front yard.

"There's some rideable waves right there," he said in one video. "I don't think I'll try that out yet quite yet. I'm going to have a cup of coffee first."  

Johnson said did his best to secure his property, but the storm got the better of it.  

One by one, he and his neighbors' garage doors succumbed to the surge — and their contents began spilling out.

"The contents are floating down the street," he says in another video. "Saw a few of my good friends and neighbors rescuing my content. So maybe we can salvage a few things there." 

Watch more:

12:39 p.m. ET, September 14, 2018

More than 600,000 without power in the Carolinas

More than 620,000 customers in North and South Carolina are now without power. Here are the latest numbers:  

  • 557,793 power outages statewide in North Carolina   
  • 64,813 power outages statewide in South Carolina
  • 622,606 total customers without power in both states

12:28 p.m. ET, September 14, 2018

Here's how much rain North Carolina cities have gotten so far

A tree bends from the heavy rain and wind from Hurricane Florence in Wilmington, North Carolina on Friday

Hurricane Florence is pounding North Carolina with rain, and it's not expected to stop any time soon. One forecaster even suggested the state could see 10 TRILLION gallons of rain before this is all over with.

Some cities have already seen more than a foot of rain. Here are some of the heaviest rainfall reports we've gotten so far:

  • 18.53 inches in Oriental
  • 14.07 inches in Surf City
  • 13.81 inches in Morehead City
  • 13.07 inches in Jacksonville
12:17 p.m. ET, September 14, 2018

FEMA's hurricane response, by the numbers

From CNN’s Gregory Wallace

FEMA official Jeff Byard speaks at a Hurricane Florence briefing on Friday, Sept. 14, 2018, as rain and a storm surge continues to be a threat across the coastal Carolinas for the next day and a half.

FEMA released updated figures regarding response to Hurricane Florence this morning.

Here are the top takeaways:  

  • The Defense Logistics Agency has 281,000 gallons of fuel, 60 generators and transformers. (Yesterday, Army Corps of Engineers said it also has more than 100 generators in the region and 15 more on the way.)
  • 14,000 people spent the night in 205 Red Cross shelters in North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia.  
  • 4,500 meals and snacks have been served by the Red Cross.
  • 60 mobile feeding units from the Salvation Army in Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia.  
  • 40,000 electric workers from 17 states have been mobilized.
  • 4,000 National Guard soldiers and air men are on duty. 10 states are mobilizing support. 40 rotary wing aircraft are available for search and rescue.  
  • 3,000 flood-certified insurance adjusters are on standby.
  • American Red Cross has deployed 1,500 employees and volunteers, 80 emergency response vehicles and more than 120 trailers of equipment and supplies.
  • 500 HHS medical personnel have been pre-positioned, including from the US Public Health Service-commissioned corps, National Disaster Medical System and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  • 500 members of the AmeriCorps Disaster Response Team have been activated, and more are standing by.
  • Storm-tide sensors and 25 rapid deployment gauges have been installed by the US Geological Survey to assist with weather monitoring and forecasting. (In addition to 231 stream gages in North Carolina and 112 gages in South Carolina, as usual.)
12:08 p.m. ET, September 14, 2018

Myrtle Beach will have curfew again tonight

Rain begins to fall in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina on Thursday.

The city manager for Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, John Pedersen, just signed a proclamation implementing a overnight curfew tonight. It will go into effect at 7 p.m. ET and stay in place until 7 a.m. ET tomorrow.

This is the third night in a row Myrtle Beach will be on curfew. On Wednesday night, there was one from 10 p.m. ET until 6 a.m. ET Thursday.

A second curfew went into effect at 7 p.m. ET yesterday and lasted until 7 a.m. ET today, Mayor Brenda Bethune said.

11:57 a.m. ET, September 14, 2018

Florence washed this city's signature bear statue into the middle of the road

The city of New Bern, North Carolina, is known for its artistic bear statues decorating downtown.

They were installed in 2010 to mark the city's 300th anniversary (Why bears? It's New Bern's symbol.)

Hurricane Florence has caused significant flooding in New Bern — and it has even washed one of the beloved bears into the middle of the road.

The statue was bolted down, but the storm still managed to uproot it, the City of New Bern tweeted: