Hurricane Michael: Waterlogged Carolinas Brace for Flash Flooding, Possible Widespread Power Outages

Pam Wright
Published: October 11, 2018

Just weeks after being slammed by Hurricane Florence, the Carolinas are once again bracing for potential flooding and power outages from Hurricane Michael.

On Wednesday, North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper declared a state of emergency ahead of Michael and deployed 150 National Guard troops to make preparations, while South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster extended the emergency already in effect after Hurricane Florence. 

"Make no mistake, Hurricane Michael is a dreadful storm, and it poses serious risks to North Carolina," Gov. Cooper said Wednesday during a news conference.

After making landfall along Florida's Gulf Coast, Michael is expected to plow through Georgia before reaching the Carolinas on Thursday, possibly as a tropical storm.

Widespread power outages, possible tornadoes and the risk of flash flooding are all possible with the storm. Locally, some areas in the Carolinas could receive up to 8 inches of rain, including areas already devastated by flooding from Hurricane Florence.

Dozens of roads and bridges damaged by Florence are still being repaired, and transportation officials urged travelers to refrain from driving around barricades, according to the State.

In North Carolina, where many roofs remain tarped following the damage inflicted by Florence, Cooper urged the state's residents to take the storm seriously on Tuesday. He said additional river flooding is possible, which could cause more problems in the reeling communities of eastern North Carolina.

“I know people who weathered Florence last month and other storms before don’t want to even think about another one,” said Cooper. “But we have to. So I’m asking you to be watchful and alert, and to get ready.”

(MORE: Michael Could Stay Strong Further Inland)

The State Emergency Operations Center was activated Wednesday to monitor the storm.

"Our local, state and federal partners are working together and making sure we are prepared to respond to any impacts from the storm in North Carolina," Director Mike Sprayberry said in a press release. "North Carolina residents can help by monitoring river levels by using, where you can sign up for mobile alerts to be notified about rising waters around you."

Some operations, including ferry service to Shackleford Banks, were closed at Cape Lookout National Seashore until the storm passes, park officials announced Tuesday.

In Raleigh, organizers for the North Carolina State Fair were closely monitoring the forecast with events expected to begin Thursday, the News and Observer reported.

"That’s the one thing we can’t control, the weather, especially if it’s a hurricane," fair general manager Kent Yelverton told the News and Observer. "We do need to prepare in advance, obviously, so of course we are. And after it passes, we’ll take care of whatever the impact is and get everything up and running again as soon as possible."

Emerald Isle resident Traci Roberts told the News and Observer her neighbors are exhausted after Florence and are now possibly facing even more devastation with Michael.

"A lot of people down here just can’t take much more," Roberts said. "If that storm comes in even with 40 mph winds, we’ll see some more trees come down."

The Weather Company’s primary journalistic mission is to report on breaking weather news, the environment and the importance of science to our lives. This story does not necessarily represent the position of our parent company, IBM.