Morning News Briefs: Thursday, September 13th, 2018

Morning News Briefs: Thursday, September 13th, 2018

6:56am Sep 13, 2018

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Florence Barreling Closer To Coast Of Carolinas

The outer bands of wind and rain from Hurricane Florence are moving onshore along North Carolina's barrier islands as the massive storm bears down on the Southeastern coastline.

As of 8 a.m., the Category 2 storm was centered about 170 miles east-southeast of Wilmington, North Carolina, and about 220 miles east-southeast of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Its forward movement slowed to 12 mph and top sustained winds stayed at 110 mph.

Forecasters at the National Hurricane Center in Miami don't expect it to strengthen from a Category 2 hurricane before it moves ashore, but they say the real problem will be water as Florence lingers along the coast through Saturday.

Speedways, Makeshift Shelters Offer Rest To Storm Evacuees

Some of the Southerners escaping Hurricane Florence have found refuge in makeshift shelters, including campgrounds at three of the nation's largest motor speedways.

But gas shortages and jammed freeways loomed for evacuees seeking safety from the storm.

In North Carolina, 1 in 10 gas stations in Wilmington and Raleigh-Durham had no gas by midday Wednesday.

At Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Georgia, personal belongings were spread across an open field where the first few evacuees arrived Wednesday.

Bristol Motor Speedway, near the Tennessee-Virginia line, and Charlotte Motor Speedway in North Carolina also opened their campgrounds to evacuees.

Duke Energy Will Use Drones To Monitor Coal Ash Sites After Hurricane

Hurricane Florence is raising some concerns from environmentalists about possible flooding that could impact coal ash ponds across the state.

Duke Energy has been working on draining several coal ash basins, particularly those near the coast. The company says this will allow the basins to take in more water if flooding from the hurricane is an issue.

And Spokesman Bill Norton says there’s a new addition to the company’s tool box: drones that can monitor changes at high-risk sites.

Duke Energy faced scrutiny from environmental groups after Hurricane Matthew in 2016. The storm caused a breach in a cooling pond at a power plant near Goldsboro.

Judges Agree To Delay Enforcing Congressional Map Decision

Federal judges have told North Carolina Republican legislators to quickly ask the U.S. Supreme Court to review their ruling that struck down the state's congressional map because it was drawn with excessive partisanship in mind.

The three-judge panel agreed Wednesday to delay enforcement of its decision last week declaring congressional districts illegal partisan gerrymanders.

School Bus Manufacturer To Cut 115 Workers In North Carolina

A school bus manufacturer in North Carolina has announced that it will be laying off 115 workers at several factories in High Point.

Thomas Built Buses announced Wednesday that the workers will be laid off effective Sept. 28. A company statement says the cuts come as the organization adjusts to "the cyclical nature of our business" following six years of increased demand and staffing.

Thomas Built was founded in the area in 1916 as a street car manufacturer. It is the county's largest manufacturing employer with about 1,800 employees as of late last year.

Copyright 2018 WFDD. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. AP contributed to this report.
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