GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — Hurricane Ian made landfall near Cayo Costa, Florida Wednesday afternoon as a Category 4 hurricane. It weakened into a tropical storm overnight, but became a hurricane again Thursday evening.

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Friday and Saturday, the system is expected to drift inland across the Carolinas, bringing heavy rain (4-8 inches), gusty winds (up to 40-50 mph), isolated tornadoes, and coastal flooding.

Stay with WNCT for coverage of the storm as it moves through the region.

Emergency response

The American Red Cross has been busy helping Florida recover from hurricane damage. The Red Cross has already opened 260 shelters in affected areas, serving more than 30,000 Floridians.

More than 700 trained volunteers from various Red Cross chapters are helping with recovery efforts, and local chapters are prepared to send more.

“We are prepared to help those in need, so we don’t want to send everyone from North Carolina to Florida just in case something happens here at home,” said Miltia Grady-Wheatley, executive director of the North Carolina Northeastern Chapter. “What we do, we pivot and shift as it is necessary.”

The Red Cross is asking for monetary and blood donations to aid their shelters and the ones in Florida.

Craven County prepares

Just like many other counties in Eastern Nort Carolina, Craven County officials have been in discussions all week, monitoring weather conditions.  

Craven County Emergency Services Director Stanley Kite tells 9OYS, his team continues to be in constant contact with the Division of Emergency Management and the National Weather Service branch. He says right now they’ve made no official calls or decisions on evacuations, as they track Ian’s forecast towards Eastern North Carolina. 

Kite is reminding residents to stay prepared and informed. He says the county will be ready for any storm changes, including rising water. 

“We are expecting some nuisance flooding on certain low-lying areas, certain roads and streets that normally have flooding issues with long periods of Northeastern winds. We expect to have some inconveniences with some of the travel, some delays with travel on the local streets and roads that flood,” Kite said. 

Kite tells residents of Craven County to finalize their preparations today. He says tomorrow will be cutting it too close to try and make any last-minute decision if conditions worsen. 

Generator safety

Generators can come in handy if your power goes out during a hurricane, but they can be dangerous if used incorrectly.

Robert Jones, of R.J. Jones Electrical, shared some tips on generator safety. If you’re not using a portable generator, Jones recommends you contact your utility provider or a licensed electrician to verify that the generator is set up correctly.

“Run a drop cord to a specific appliance that you need, refrigerator, freezer, those type of things and avoid running the entire house off of it, because that’s what’s gonna create a dangerous situation for people,” Jones said.

He said safety should always be the top priority.