Hurricane Florence: Lenoir County Update

Sep 14, 2018

Lenoir County officials are expecting the worst effects from Hurricane Florence to happen on Monday when the Neuse River is forecasted to crest at 21.4 feet. 

While that's expected to cause flooding, the county has experienced worse in the past, said Bryan Hanks, the county's spokesperson. 

"We had 32 feet in Matthew, so that gives you a little bit of perspective there of what we had two years ago," Hanks said. 

As of 12:45 p.m., sustained winds had reached 22 miles per hour with gusts at 33 miles per hour and rain continues to fall. Hanks says they expect high winds and rain to continue for the next 24 hours. 

"That's the most concerning thing to us," he said. "We're just being continuously beat. We're getting lots of calls of...power lines being down, tree limbs falling."

County officials are working to restore power for 7,000 people, which is about 10 percent of the county's residents. 

At noon today, the county began evacuating 117 people staying at an emergency shelter at South Lenoir High School after it closed due to damages from the storm. 

"We lost power to it last night. And then on top of it, we had a lot of water damage, some leaking.  It's an old school.  It was built in the 30s and 40s," Hanks said. "The roof has pretty much gone out, and there's lots of leaks." 

Hanks says county officials are urging residents to stay indoors. 

"I understand the reflex is for people to go outside and check their yard and see the limbs that have fallen and the pine cones and all that kind of stuff," Hanks said. "But that's the worse thing you can do right now is to do that. They need to be sitting inside and listening to public radio right now, and not wandering outside and getting hit by a tree limb." 

Update: Authorities have reported two deaths in Kinston from Hurricane Florence.  A 78-year-old man died at his home on Silver Smith Circle while trying to plug in a generator.  A 77-year-old man died outside his home on Middle Street after he was blown down by the wind while checking on his dogs.