Michael Smashes Into North Carolina, Leaving Plenty Of Problems Behind
Tropical Storm Michael didn’t stay in the Triad long, but the historic storm sure left a mark.
After wreaking havoc in Florida and sprinting through the Southeast, Michael arrived in North Carolina Thursday, bringing heavy rains and tropical-force winds with it.
While the leading edge of the storm brought dreary conditions and significant rainfall, the torrential downpour that followed in the afternoon caused the National Weather Service to issue one alert after the next, from Flash Flood notices to Severe Thunderstorm Warnings, and even a Tornado Warning for counties along the Virginia border.
An initial report from the National Weather Service in Raleigh suggested the top speed of wind gusts from Central North Carolina came along the western edge of the region, hitting between 50-60 mph.
The number of power outages across the state started rising in the early afternoon and into the evening, not just in the Triad, but across the state. As of 10 a.m. Friday morning, there were 481,873 outages. The majority of the outages are in Alamance, Durham, Forsyth, Guilford, Mecklenburg, Orange, Rockingham, and Wake counties.
In a Friday morning update, Gov. Roy Cooper said Emergency Management officials and local governments are beginning to assess the damage. He urged caution when removing trees and reminded individuals not to touch downed power lines.
The governor says nearly 100 people have been rescued and many more evacuated due to flash flooding.
An Iredell County man died Thursday when a tree hit his car.
NCDOT Commissioner Jim Trogdon said 75 roads were still closed from Hurricane Florence, with the aftermath from Michael bringing that number to 358. He said travel will remain hazardous Friday because of debris and that more roads may close due to flooding from rising rivers.
In the Triad, power outages caused several city governments, including Greensboro and High Point, shut down Thursday. Greensboro Mayor Nancy Vaughan also declared a state of emergency in conjunction with Guilford County after reports of flooded roads continued to pop up on social media.
The damage from Michael compounds what was already a difficult recovery scenario in North Carolina, as the cleanup from Hurricane Florence had only just begun. In the run-up to Michael’s appearance in North Carolina, Cooper called for a $1.5 billion recovery package.
Now, as the state begins to rebuild, the time and money it will take to get back to normal is almost certain to go up.
*Editors Note: This story has been updated from an earlier version.