Latest North Carolina news, sports, business and entertainment at 11:20 a.m. EDT
The Latest: Hurricane Florence now hovering near Cape Fear
WILMINGTON, N.C. (AP) – Forecasters say the center of Hurricane Florence is hovering just inland near Cape Fear, North Carolina.
It remains a Category 1 hurricane with top sustained winds of 80 mph (130 kph), but stronger wind gusts have been reported.
At 11 a.m., Florence was centered about 20 miles (30 kilometers) southwest of Wilmington, North Carolina, and about 55 miles (90 kilometers) east-northeast of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. It was crawling west-southwest at 3 mph (6kph), lifting huge amounts of ocean moisture and dumping it far from the coast.
Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 70 miles (110 km) from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 195 miles (315 km).
TROPICAL WEATHER-STORM SURGE
AP Explains: How hurricanes unleash lethal storm surges
WASHINGTON (AP) – Storm surges kill more people in a hurricane than anything else. Never mind the winds that rip rooftops from homes. It’s the water – from storm surge, flooding and ocean drowning – that kills nearly 9 out of 10 people in storms like Florence.
A study by the National Hurricane Center found that between 1963 and 2012, nearly half of all of U.S. hurricane deaths were from storm surge – and the rest from all the other threats like wind and surf combined.
Storm surges aren’t walls of water, like a tsunami. Caused by a hurricane’s winds pushing relentlessly onshore, they are more like domes of high water that form from the ocean spreading inland.
The deadliest hurricanes to hit the U.S. mainland killed most of their victims with storm surge, including 2005’s Katrina.
TROPICAL WEATHER-SHIFTING SANDS
Beyond hurricanes, rising seas menace barrier island homes
NORTH TOPSAIL BEACH, N.C. (AP) – For the barrier island homes that manage to survive Hurricane Florence’s assault on the Carolina coast, it’s only a matter of time.
The fragile islands just off the U.S. Southeast coast are experiencing some of the fastest rates of sea level rise in the world. By the end of this century, experts project, the ocean will rise more than 6 feet (2 meters) – enough to wash over wide sections of some coastal islands with every high tide.
Coastal property owners in low-lying areas typically rely on federal flood insurance since many private insurers have pulled out of the market. And in North and South Carolina, more than $87 billion in private property is covered by federal flood insurance – leaving taxpayers likely left holding much of the bill as sea levels rise and future natural disasters mount.
TROPICAL STORM-FLEEING TO FLORIDA
Florida opens up hotel rooms, ports to Florence evacuees
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) – Long accustomed to its residents evacuating north when hurricanes threaten, Florida is in the unusual position of accommodating diverted cruise ships and hotel-room seekers hoping to escape the wrath of Hurricane Florence.
Florida emergency officials said Thursday they had no way of tracking how many residents from the Carolinas had escaped to Florida this week. But some hotels were offering special discounts for evacuees and Florida ports were opening their terminals to cruise ships making unexpected ports of call.
Port Canaveral along Florida’s Space Coast had two ships visiting unexpectedly. Thousands of passengers on both ships took excursions to Orlando theme parks, local beaches and the nearby Kennedy Space Center.
In Orlando, hotelier Harris Rosen was offering substantial discounts to evacuees at his nine hotels.
Some Bob Evans sausage links recalled, may contain plastic
XENIA, Ohio (AP) – The Agriculture Department says Bob Evans Farms is recalling nearly 47,000 pounds (21,318 kilograms) of pork sausage links because it might contain pieces of plastic.
The items have establishment number “EST 6785” and were sold in Indiana, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin.
The Food and Safety Inspection Service says there are no confirmed reports of any injuries.
The 12-ounce (340 gram) trays are labeled Bob Evans Maple Pork Sausage Links, Brown Sugar and Honey, Fresh from Meijer Maple Flavored Sausage Links or Giant Eagle Maple Pork Breakfast Sausage Links Caramel Color Added. All have a lot code of 8213.
The sausage should be thrown out or returned to place of purchase.
Police: Guns, knives, beer found in student’s car
(Information from: The Hickory Daily Record, http://www.hickoryrecord.com)
HICKORY, N.C. (AP) – Police say a student has been caught at a North Carolina high school with guns, knives, ammunition and beer.
The Hickory Daily Record cites a Hickory police report that says a Hickory High School resource officer noticed a student appeared to be intoxicated around noon Wednesday. It says a search of the student’s car uncovered a rifle, a shotgun, three knives, a crossbow arrow, various ammunition and a 24-pack of Michelob Ultra.
Hickory Public Schools spokeswoman Beverly Snowden says the student has since been suspended. Authorities haven’t released the student’s age, name or gender. It’s unclear if the student was arrested or charged.
CHARLOTTE BUSINESS GROUPS
2 regional business groups to merge in North Carolina
(Information from: The Charlotte Observer, http://www.charlotteobserver.com)
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – Two major North Carolina business groups are merging to promote economic development and job growth in their region.
The Charlotte Observer reports the Charlotte Chamber and Charlotte Regional Partnership said in a Thursday statement they’ll begin operating as a combined organization Jan. 1, provided both boards approve the deal.
Both groups are responsible for recruiting businesses to relocate and expand in the Charlotte region. They’ve worked together on a strategic plan over the past few years.
The regional partnership, also known as Charlotte USA, represents 11 North Carolina counties and four upstate South Carolina counties.
It lost one North Carolina county in February, and an audit found “sloppy accounting” last summer. It oversaw Charlotte’s failed Amazon HQ2 bid.
The statement says a unified organization makes it easier to court businesses.