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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7:55 p.m. ET, September 14, 2018

South Carolina governor: Looters will be shown no mercy

From CNN's AnneClaire Stapleton

A warning to looters is posted on a bar and grill in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
A warning to looters is posted on a bar and grill in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster said that anyone who loots during Hurricane Florence will be shown "no mercy" by law enforcement.

“This is gonna be a very trying period," he said at a Friday news conference.

McMaster said Florence will be different than previous storms that have hit the area, and its effects will be felt for longer as it travels slowly. "This will be with us for about two days,” he said.

He said residents should expect impassable bridges, washed out roads, landslides and flooding. He also pleaded with them to be patient.

"The last thing we want to do is lose lives in South Carolina because of impatience," he said.

3:08 p.m. ET, September 14, 2018

This retired Marine is rescuing storm victims in his military transport vehicle

CNN's Ed Lavandera

CNN rode along with Jason Weinmann as he drove into flooded neighborhoods to pull storm victims to higher ground in New Bern, North Carolina.

The 47-year-old retired Marine bought a military troop transport vehicle 10 years ago at a government auction and is driving it through flooded streets to reach people who need help.

“That’s why I got this thing, to use in times like this,” he said.

Weinmann pulled 10 people out of flooded neighborhoods and delivered the storm victims to a shelter in New Bern.

Jennifer Morales, 20, was one of those evacuated from her home with her husband and son, who turns 2 next month. The family had 3 feet of water in their home and so called for rescue help, and it took 12 hours for rescuers to get to them.

“It was pretty bad. We didn’t know where to go,” she said.

2:55 p.m. ET, September 14, 2018

Mother and infant child killed by falling tree, marking Florence's first deaths

CNN's AnneClaire Stapleton

A mother and her infant child were killed in Wilmington, North Carolina, after a tree fell on their house, Wilmington Police Department confirmed in a tweet.

“WPD can confirm the first two fatalities of Hurricane #Florence in Wilmington. A mother and infant were killed when a tree fell on their house. The father was transported to NHRMC with injuries.”

These are the first known storm-related deaths due to Hurricane Florence.

2:47 p.m. ET, September 14, 2018

Live map shows planes on the East Coast flying around Florence

FlightAware's live map shows plenty of flights over the US's East Coast — and they're all avoiding Hurricane Florence.

American Airlines announced it canceled 340 flights on Friday. Another 210 flights are canceled on Saturday, and 100 are canceled Sunday.

Yesterday, Delta announced it canceled 150 Friday flights ahead of Hurricane Florence.

2:31 p.m. ET, September 14, 2018

Florence is now just barely a hurricane

From CNN's Eric Levenson

Hurricane Florence's sustained winds have weakened to 75 mph, just 2 mph away from being downgraded to a tropical storm, according to the 2 p.m. ET advisory from the National Hurricane Center.

Still, Florence continues to bring life-threatening storm surges, hurricane-force wind gusts, and catastrophic flooding across North and South Carolina.

Florence is located 35 miles west-southwest of Wilmington, North Carolina and is moving west at 5 mph. The storm is forecast to slowly move farther inland and then turn toward the north over the coming days.

2:00 p.m. ET, September 14, 2018

Crews from New York City are rescuing trapped North Carolinians

NYC Emergency Management
NYC Emergency Management

Emergency crews from New York City are in North Carolina to help with rescues during Hurricane Florence.

NYC Emergency Management tweeted out this clip of an ongoing water rescue in River Bend:

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.
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
Residents look at downed tree as Hurricane Florence passes over Wilmington, North Carolina, Friday ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP/Getty Images

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.