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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7:45 p.m. ET, September 13, 2018

Conditions are deteriorating on Ocracoke Island

From CNN's Paul Murphy

We just obtained footage from Ocracoke Island in North Carolina, where conditions are rapidly deteriorating as the tide surges inland.

Hurricane Florence strengthened slightly as of the 6 p.m. ET update, up to 105 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center. Florence remains a category 2 hurricane.

Hurricane force wind gusts are now being felt along the central North Carolina coast and water levels are increasing quickly.

See it:

7:23 p.m. ET, September 13, 2018

This pizza shop is one of the only businesses open in Myrtle Beach

From CNN's Sara Weisfeldt


Mikey Zalloum of Uncle Mikey’s Brick Oven Pizza is sweating as he works feverishly making pizzas tonight. 

His bustling pizza restaurant is one of the only businesses open in the evacuated town of Myrtle Beach as Florence nears.

Why is he open when the town is evacuated? He says he has been through this many times and that "nothing is going to happen."

He admitted he usually doesn’t make the pizzas himself but he is tonight because "everybody is scared" -- including most of his staff.  

He has lived in Meryl Beach for 15 years after moving to the area from Boston, MA.

When asked if he’ll be open tomorrow, he simply shrugged. 

7:04 p.m. ET, September 13, 2018

Virginia governor tells residents to "shelter in place" ahead of Florence

Virginia Governor Ralph Northam told Virginians to "shelter in place and stay off the roads" from now on, in anticipation of Hurricane Florence.

At a news conference moments ago, the Governor said the storm is expected to arrive in Virginia tonight and into tomorrow.

"We anticipate tropical storm force winds, flooding and several inches of rain in parts of the state," he said.

6:43 p.m. ET, September 13, 2018

"This is just the beginning": Tidal flooding seen in Kennel Beach, NC

From CNN's Gisela Crespo

Todd Willis via Neuse River Bait & Tackle/Facebook
Todd Willis via Neuse River Bait & Tackle/Facebook

Todd Willis, owner of Neuse River Bait and Tackle, shared this video of tidal flooding in Kennel Beach, NC. “This is just the beginning,” Miller narrates in the video. “It hasn’t even gotten here yet and there’s already water [in the] bottom part of people’s houses.” 

See it here.

6:26 p.m. ET, September 13, 2018

From Wilmington to Myrtle Beach, what to expect over the next 36 hours

From CNN's Brandon Miller

CNN has crews all over the Carolina coast as Hurricane Florence moves in. Here's what to expect from some of those locations over the next 36+ hours as we cover this massive storm.

Jacksonville/New Bern, NC

Synopsis: This is the first location to receive hurricane force winds, which should begin in the 6p-9p timeframe Friday night. Storm surge will also be highest in these locations, especially around the high tides (just after midnight and noon).

Winds: Hurricane force winds begin around 6p Thursday and will last through early afternoon on Friday. Winds will remain over 50 mph in this location through daylight hours and into Friday night.

Storm Surge: 8-12 feet This will be highest around the high tides at 1am and 1pm Friday

Wilmington/Carolina Beach, NC

Synopsis: Wilmington will see some of the worst conditions, and for the longest amount of time. Wilmington will also see the some of the highest rainfall totals for the storm, which could approach 40 inches.

Winds: Hurricane force winds will begin later tonight around 8 or 9p and will last for a full 24 hours. Wilmington will not see wind gusts drop below 50 mph until Saturday afternoon, at the earliest.

Storm Surge: 7-11 feet, high tide is 1:30a and 2p on Friday

North Myrtle Beach, SC

Synopsis: Tropical storm force winds are still offshore at the moment but will be moving into South Carolina in the next couple of hours. Winds will really pick up in this location early in the morning on Friday, building through the day and peaking late afternoon/evening.

Winds: Hurricane force wind gusts begin Friday morning by 5a and will last through evening hours. Winds above 50 mph last until daybreak Saturday morning. They will also change direction during Friday afternoon, going from a northerly wind to being from the south, at which time the storm surge will begin to be a concern.

Storm Surge: 4-6 feet, surge isn’t an issue until the wind changes direction on Friday afternoon

Myrtle Beach, SC

Synopsis: Rain bands will not reach this location until Friday morning, likely in the 4a-6a timeframe. Conditions will worsen through the day and should be at their worst from 2pm to 10pm Friday afternoon to evening.

Winds: Tropical Storm force winds should begin this evening around 7-8p and will stay above TS force until Saturday afternoon. The peak of the winds for them should occur stating Friday afternoon and last until early Saturday morning – likely peaking 7p-midnight Friday night where winds could gust up to 90 mph

Storm Surge: 4-6 feet, surge isn’t an issue until the wind changes direction on Friday afternoon

6:07 p.m. ET, September 13, 2018

Hurricane Florence strengthens slightly

From CNN's Brandon Miller

Hurricane Florence has strengthened slightly, up to 105 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center in a 6pm update on the storm. Florence remains a category 2 hurricane.

Hurricane force wind gusts are beginning to be felt along the central North Carolina coast and water levels are increasing quickly on the southern side of the Outer Banks. 

6:02 p.m. ET, September 13, 2018

Nearly 70,000 are without power in North Carolina

From CNN's Chris Boyette

There are 68,892 customers are currently without power statewide according to North Carolina Emergency Management.

The top counties affected are Carteret, Craven, New Hanover, Onslow and Pamlico, the agency reported.

5:57 p.m. ET, September 13, 2018

Frying Pan Tower: We'll replace the torn flag after the hurricane

The Facebook page for the Frying Pan Tower wants everyone to know they'll replace the torn American flag next time they're about to do it -- after the storm has passed.

"Hey folks, the last time we were out we put up a new flag. With respect, we will retire and replace it next trip. We see the tears and know that good men and women fought for America and are honored to fly old glory!" they write on the page.

"Please understand, this is a hurricane. We are not on the tower and can't go outside and replace it yet."

The flag can be seen live on its webcam, and it was torn by the hurricane's high winds earlier this afternoon.

5:36 p.m. ET, September 13, 2018

NC mayor: It's "too late" for residents to leave

Beaufort Mayor Everette Newton just spoke to CNN and told us that it's "too late" for residents there to leave. Instead, they should hunker down and wait it out.

"It's really dangerous out right now, with lots of limbs coming down, lots of debris going around," he explained. "They need to shelter in place."