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Hurricane Ian updates: Storm surge, flooding, and tornadoes

Hurricane Ian, a category 4 storm with sustained winds over 150 mph, made landfall Wednesday afternoon in southwest Florida's Lee County.
Hurricane Ian, a category 4 storm with sustained winds over 150 mph, made landfall Wednesday afternoon in southwest Florida's Lee County. It's since looped around in the Atlantic and made landfall again in South Carolina.

The powerful storm system returned to Category-1 hurricane strength before making landfall in South Carolina. Southeastern North Carolina will feel the effects through Friday evening.

The worst of the wind and rain effects will be felt this afternoon; flooding and storm surge will likely persist into the weekend.

Brunswick County will get the brunt of Ian’s force in North Carolina, with wind gusts of 70 to 90 miles per hour in Shallotte and Callabash. Coastal Brunswick will also see some of the most severe storm surges, according to the National Weather Service's Wilmington office.

“We're worried about Western Brunswick County near those beaches. You know, pretty much anywhere from Little River of the Holden Beach, where we can see maybe four to five feet of inundation above ground level," said meteorologist Steven Pfaff.

Storm surge poses a serious hazard for New Hanover County beaches, as well. NWS expects very hazardous maritime conditions for the next day, at least.

Wind speeds in Wilmington and Leland will peak a bit lower than across the river, with gusts around 50 to 60 mph, with coastal New Hanover areas seeing gusts up to 65 miles per hour.

Isolated tornadoes could also occur throughout the region, which is under a tornado watch until 10 p.m. tonight.

The storm’s winds and rains are expected to largely dissipate overnight, but residents should still expect ongoing storm surge and flooding through the weekend.

Other hazards include downed trees, which could also cause power outages. Flooded roadways will also be likely throughout Friday afternoon and evening.

Officials from New Hanover County and Wilmington continue to advise those who can stay off the roads to do so. Even a foot of moving water can push a car off the road. As Ian continues to bring heavy rain to inland areas, river flooding is also very likely.

Weather updates: Find the latest updates from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration here.

NWS updates for the greater Wilmington area can be found here.

Water/Sewer: For Cape Fear Public Utility Authority water and sewer emergencies, residents should call CFPUA at (910) 332-6565.

Power: Residents who experience a power outage during the storm can report it by texting OUT to 57801, calling 1-800-419-6356, or visiting duke-energy.com.