RALEIGH, N.C. — The Latest on Hurricane Matthew’s impact in North Carolina (all times local):
Visitors in Brunswick County moved pretty quickly to obey orders to get out of town before Hurricane Matthew approached the southeastern part of North Carolina.
The county government, the city of Southport and all six beach towns had declared states of emergency by Thursday and issued voluntary evacuation notices. Oak Island, Caswell Beach and Bald Head Island have imposed mandatory evacuations, ordering visitors to leave.
Officials rely on rental companies and hotels to inform visitors about evacuations. Condominiums emptied fast and one vacationer grumbled about having to leave.
Philip Aschliman was on vacation with his wife and child from Franklin and said Thursday he didn’t see any reason to leave. That was before updated forecasts said Matthew would come closer to the North Carolina shore on Saturday.
Wilmington-area officials are bracing for flash flooding and possible widespread power outages as projections for Hurricane Matthew have it creeping closer to the southeastern North Carolina coast.
New Hanover County Emergency Management Director Warren Lee said Friday that new forecasts have increased concerns about high winds beginning Saturday afternoon and rain totals approaching 1 foot. Downed trees and minor structural damage to buildings are possible.
Lee said at a media briefing that voluntary evacuations have been issued for local beaches and low-lying areas prone to flooding, but they could become mandatory if projections worsen. He strongly urged people to stay out of the ocean.
Lee says two emergency shelters would be open late Friday afternoon. County and Wilmington city offices were to close at 3 p.m.
The National Hurricane Center has issued a hurricane warning from Cocoa Beach, Florida, to Surf City, North Carolina.
In addition, a hurricane watch has been posted for north of Surf City to Cape Lookout. Also, a tropical storm warning is in effect from north of Surf City to Duck on the northern Outer Banks, as well as the Pamlico and Albemarle sounds.
Forecasters say tropical storm conditions are expected to first reach the tropical storm warning area in North Carolina on Saturday morning. The forecast also calls for a storm surge of from 2 to 4 feet from Cape Fear to Salvo, including portions of the Pamlico and Albemarle Sounds.
Also, forecasters say there is a danger of life-threatening inundation during the next 36 hours along the Florida northeast coast, the Georgia coast, the South Carolina coast, and the North Carolina coast from Sebastian Inlet, Florida, to Cape Fear. There is also the possibility of life-threatening inundation during the next 48 hours from north of Cape Fear to Salvo.
North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory says he’s about worried about current projections of Hurricane Matthew that show the storm could lead to heavier rains than previously estimated at or near the coast and power outages from high winds.
McCrory said Friday morning rainfall totals could exceed a foot in parts of southeastern North Carolina, with the most activity starting Friday night through Sunday morning. He said in a storm media briefing that wind gusts could push above 65 mph, and that citizens should be prepared to remain without electricity for some time because utilities may have to focus first on other affected regions.
He says the North Carolina National Guard and emergency equipment are being assembled, including high-water vehicles and swift-water rescue teams. The state is also providing a helicopter rescue team and other resources to South Carolina. McCrory says a mobile hospital unit is ready to go to Florida when it’s safe to do so.
Soldiers are Fort Bragg are prepared to deploy on short notice if they are called to assist with those who suffer from damage or other problems because of Hurricane Matthew.
The Fayetteville Observer reported (http://bit.ly/2cZfhMb ) that several units were weighing trucks, checking inventory and practicing loading aircraft on Wednesday.
The training came as Hurricane Matthew was moving toward the United States.
The cargo transport company and the movement control team would go ahead of soldiers from the 1st Brigade Combat Team, which is part of the Global Response Force that is ready to respond around the world on short notice.
Battalion commander Lt. Col. Michael Ludwick says his unit is just awaiting orders if it is needed.