The National Weather Service has issued a flood warning for the Cape Fear River with “confidence increasing in potentially catastrophic flooding in the Sandhills and the southern Coastal Plain,” county officials said in an email update on storm conditions at 11 a.m.
Video: Hurricane Florence: Town mostly evacuated as rain begins in Wilmington
County officials said there is a high probability the banks of the Cape Fear River will overflow at a level higher than what occurred during Hurricane Matthew in October 2016.
Officials also are calling for voluntary evacuations for those who live near the Little River in the Manchester area of Spring Lake. The area flooded during Hurricane Matthew.
County officials said the evacuations could become mandatory within the next 24 hours. They are hoping to have residents out of these areas by Saturday night.
Residents are encouraged to monitor the news, social media and government websites for more information from emergency management.
Residents should take sleeping bags, blankets, mats or cots because the number of cots may be limited. County officials said there are 561 people in the shelters.
Residents who need assistance with transportation to one of the shelters should call 910-678-7657. FAST will continue transporting residents to shelters as long as conditions are safe to do so.
To Sean Waugh, a research scientist at NOAAs National Severe Storms Laboratory, hurricanes like Florence are an opportunity.
“Weve been down here for a couple days so weve kind of looked around and have a couple of good spots in mind,” Waugh said.
His job on Thursday was to start monitoring the upper atmosphere by launching high-tech weather sensors inside balloons, right into the middle of Florence. CBS News caught up with him at the Wilmington airport, not far from the Carolina coastline, as he prepared for liftoff.
“The goal is looking at Hurricane Florence as it moves on shore, where the winds are and where it occurs on the ground, transitioning from a hurricane all the way down to a tropical depression. Its the whole picture is basically what were after,” Waugh said.
Waugh said hes studied five hurricanes in real time and the data gathered from each one have helped people prepare for the next.
Jeff Glor has reported all over the world for CBS News since 2007. He was named anchor of the “CBS Evening News with Jeff Glor” in 2017.