RALEIGH (WTVD) —
Hurricane Matthew has made landfall in South Carolina and Gov. Pat McCrory is warning NC residents that the Category 1 storm has the potential to bring the most flooding to North Carolina since Hurricane Floyd. The Triangle and Sandhills are in for hours of continuous rain. In Raleigh, flood-prone Crabtree Valley Mall closed at 1:30 p.m. as a precaution.
At an afternoon news conference, McCrory said one person in Sampson County and two people in Bladen County have died as a result of the storm. The first person was killed when their car hydroplaned. The two in Bladen died in a flooded vehicle.
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Matthew is packing winds of 75 mph and is crawling up the coast at 12 mph. ABC11 Meteorologist Steve Stewart says by 2 a.m. Sunday, Matthew should pull out to sea – but not before it soaks the area.
Here’s what you need to know as of Saturday morning:
- Matthew has made landfall in South Carolina
- Heavy rains have moved into central NC now and will continue most of the day
- Rainfall amounts in the Triangle from 3 to 6 inches, possibility of up to 10 inches inundating the Sandhills
- Flash flooding is likely and with the ground saturated, wind gusts between 50 and 60mph will cause trees to comes down
- The likelihood of power outages is increasing
- Matthew will be leaving our coast overnight and tomorrow the sun comes out, but it will still be breezy
Rain amounts of 3 to 7 inches are possible across Central North Carolina as Hurricane Matthew moves closer. In addition, a Wind Advisory is in effect through Sunday afternoon. Central North Carolina could see wind gusts up to 40 to 50 miles per hour.
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Hurricane Warnings have been extended to Cape Lookout. Tropical Storm Warnings are in effect for northern coastal counties.
WATCH: Hurricane Matthew’s strong winds slam Wrightsville Beach
A Tornado Watch is in effect until 4 p.m. for some coastal counties. Those counties include Brunswick, Carteret, Columus, Craven, Jones, New Hanover, Onslow, Pamlico, and Pender.
The storm should continue to weaken during the day Saturday and Matthew will spin down to tropical storm strength by Sunday.
The south coast of North Carolina could experience hurricane force wind gusts today, and winds could gust to 50 mph along the I-95 corridor and near 40 mph around the Triangle.
Flash flooding is a major concern for Saturday, especially in the Sandhills and Coastal Plain. Officials are asking people to stay home if they can and to never drive through water over the road.
Friday, President Obama approved Gov. Pat McCrory’s request for a federal disaster declaration for 66 counties in central and eastern North Carolina.
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McCrory says the North Carolina National Guard and emergency equipment are being assembled, including high-water vehicles and swift-water rescue teams.
At Fort Bragg, soldiers are prepared to deploy on short notice if they are called to assist those who suffer from damage or other problems because of the hurricane.
With the hurricane’s approach, thousands of flight cancellations to and from Florida have been reported across the country, including at Raleigh Durham international.
In Raleigh, Derrick Remer, Emergency Management & Special Events Manager with the City of Raleigh said crews are on standby ready to work through the weekend on 12-hour shifts, on the go 24 hours if needed. While the city is still watching and waiting, they’ve already started conversations with power crews and other emergency operations.
North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper is also warning residents about scams connected to Hurricane Matthew.
RELATED: North Carolina officials warning residents about Hurricane Matthew scams
Meanwhile, Duke Energy is on alert as they track the storm’s path. They say they’re preparing for a major power outage event.
The state’s largest energy provider hasn’t had to prepare for this kind of potential storm, in some time.
The Red Cross is also urging residents in Eastern North Carolina to be prepared.
“The better prepared folks are, the safer they will be should Hurricane Matthew impact our coastline,” said Barry Porter, regional chief executive officer of the Red Cross in Eastern NC. “The Red Cross encourages residents to build a kit of necessities, ready their homes, and make a plan with their families.”
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The ABC11 Weather Team will keep you updated with the latest.
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