Updated at 10:46 p.m.
The NWS is reporting that Hurricane Matthew continues to deliver heavy rainfall with potentially life-threatening flash flooding and dangerous storm surges for coastal counties.
The flash flood warning had been extended until 5 a.m. Sunday for the N.C. coastal regions.
The Onslow County government has reported that the dunes and sandbags that were reinforcing the northern end of North Topsail Island have been breached.
Storm surge waters are now breaking between condos and apartments there.
Updated at 10:35 p.m.
Record-breaking rainfall is expected to hit Eastern North Carolina, although Hurricane Matthew's track shifted east, according to the latest update from the National Hurricane Center.
The rain and wind have prompted road closures in Onslow County, as streets flood and trees fall from a mix of wind and soil saturation.
As of 9:20 p.m., Onslow County had 10 roads closed due to flooding or an obstruction in the road, Onslow County Communications Specialist Riley Eversull said. There were two roads down to one lane from flooding or an obstruction and nine roads dealing with flooding, she said.
Some of the main roads were Western Blvd. near Brynn Marr due to flooding, Huff Drive at Western Blvd., the 4500 block of Gum Branch Road, Woodson Street near Richlands High School, and Richlands Hwy at Koonce Fork Road, all due to flooding, Eversull said.
Richlands Hwy where it meets Barbie Tree Road, 437 Cypress Tree Road, and Padgett Road at the intersection of William Gurganus Road were closed due to obstructions in the road, she said.
Additionally, Turtle Shell Road is closed at the bridge due to flooding, and the 200 block of Bell Fork Road in Jacksonville is also closed due to flooding, Eversull said.
"We have a few calls from people who were stranded in vehicles from water, but so far there are no major injuries from that," she said, adding that there were also a few property damages, but no injuries as of 9:20 p.m. Saturday.
Although Jones County issued a state of emergency Saturday morning, Maysville Town Manager Schumata Brown said there were no road closures or reported wrecks in that area.
But he still issued a warning to Maysville residents.
"Stay off the roads because it is a flash flood warning," he said. "Police are riding around making sure (residents) are where they need to be."
Glenn Hargett, Jacksonville assistant city manager, said he was seeing lights flickering at his house. It had been quiet, he said, in terms of people roaming about Jacksonville on Saturday.
"Today had to have been a day of the least amount of traffic," he said. "It almost looked like a Christmas holiday as little traffic as there was out there."
People, he thought, were voluntarily staying inside to ride out the hurricane.
Hargett said he expected the wind to keep up until 2 a.m. and the rain to keep up, but not with the same intensity. What he was most concerned about, he said, was the storm surge and high tide rolling in again at 2 a.m.
"We've asked people to heed our advice to stay in," he said. "There's no curfew in the city. I think people are using good sense to stay out of high wind conditions would be best for families and friends."
In terms of damage in the city, Hargett said they'd know more in the morning.
"From a city perspective, we've had some minor damage, likely as some of the parks. We'll know more of that at first light," he said.
Hargett advised residents to sign up for automatic alerts if they hadn't already at JacksonvilleNC.gov/Connect and to call the city information line for non-emergencies at 910-938-6555.
As of 9:58 p.m. Saturday, Duke Energy had 2,944 customers with outages in Onslow County, 7,524 customers without power in Pender County, and 6,687 without power in Duplin County. Jones and Carteret County Duke Energy customers without power were below 500 each. Jones-Onslow EMC had 4,335 customers without power in Onslow County as of Saturday evening at 9:58 p.m.
With the winds going on in Jacksonville, Hargett said it was to be expected that there would be power outages, but that power restoration crews wouldn't be able to get up to work on them until wind speeds were 30 miles-per-hour or below.
Stay tuned with JDNews.com for updates.
UPDATED AT 8:12 P.M.
River flooding is now forecast to be catastrophic, according to the most recent update from the National Weather Service out of Morehead City.
Dozens of roads and areas are impassable from flooding all across the county, even in Duplin County.
When asked what roads were flooded, Beulaville Police Department Officer Rudolph Becton said just stay off all of them.
“It’s pretty bad weather out here tonight,” he said. “I wouldn’t advise anybody to drive out here like this.”
Flooding started to get worse around 5 p.m., he said, and the wind picked up at 7 p.m.
Oddly enough, closer to the coast in Richlands isn’t so bad, according to Richlands Police Chief Ron Lindig.
Only one road is closed, Woodson Street, due to flooding. The west end of Hargett Street is “ponding” but passable, he said, although he added if drivers don’t go slowly through the area, the water will reduce the speed for them.
Richlands has seen about seven-to-nine inches of rain so far, according to Meteorologist Robert Frederick with the National Weather Service in Morehead City. By comparison, the Swansboro and Topsail Island areas have seen two-to-four inches, he said.
The ditches in Richlands are pretty full but the town is mostly clear of tree limbs, Lindig said, adding that the rain was really coming down outside around 7:30 p.m. and there was no telling what the town might look like in a couple of hours.
Power has flickered in a number of homes across the county and the wind speeds as Hurricane Matthew passes the local area will be sustained as high as 60 miles-per-hour, according to the National Weather Service.
With the wind could come more power outages, but there are currently almost 2,000 without power.
Jones Onslow EMC has 646 without power and Duke Energy Progress has 1,269.
Matthew was about 40 miles east of Wilmington around 8 p.m.
Onslow County Communications Specialist Riley Eversull said while not much has changed for the county throughout the day, she stressed that if residents don’t have to be out in the storm, they should stay put for the duration.
There is an end in sight, though, and it may be sooner than many originally thought.
Frederick said the worst of the winds will be on the backside of the storm and Onslow County should experience them in the next two-to-three hours, but the heavy rain and wind should start dying down and may even be clear of the area around midnight.
Updated at 6:41 p.m.
The flooding of roadways and rising waters along sounds and waterways have been the primary impact in the Onslow County area as Hurricane Matthew churns closer to the area.
As the rain has progressed throughout the day, so have the reports of coastal flooding and high water on roads and in low-lying areas.
“It’s mostly been the rain we’ve been dealing with,” said Onslow County Public Information Officer Riley Eversull.
All or portions of about 20 roads or areas of Onslow County had been reported as either flooded or closed, with a couple of others obstructed by fallen trees or other objects.
Riggs Road was flooded in several spots and closed in another section due to a downed tree.
Riverwalk Landing at Kerr Street was closed due to flooding and there were a number of reports of flooding in the county’s coastal areas.
“We’ve had several reports in Swansboro and several reports in the Sneads Ferry area,” Eversull said.
Fulcher’s Landing near Blackbeard’s Waterfront Restaurant is flooded and Swansboro has seen flooding along the waterfront and by mid-afternoon Church Street near the intersection of Front Street was barricaded as waters quickly rose in that area.
The roadway at the entrance of the shelter at Richlands High School is impassable due to high water and those traveling to the shelter were being asked to follow alternate routes.
The Town of Swansboro also reported high water covering waterfront parks such as Bicentennial Park and Ward Shore park.
Just across the border in Carteret County, high water covered the boating access along N.C. 24 by early afternoon’s high tide.
In the Hubert area, flooding was reported in low-lying areas along Queens Creek.
With the concerns about flooding and the storm’s heaviest rains and winds to come late Saturday and into Sunday morning, many area communities have set curfews, including Swansboro, Emerald Isle and Cape Carteret.
At Topsail Island, the Town of North Topsail Beach has seen pounding on roads, ocean overwash and dune breaches on New River Inlet Road, particularly near beach access #4 and the town park.
Some minor damage to homes such as siding and roof shingle blown off had been observed by town officials as of its 4:30 p.m. update.
About 2,000 customers were without power in Onslow County as of about 6 p.m., with 1,200 being Duke Energy customers and 600 Jones-Onslow EMC customers. Carteret-Craven EMC had about 300 customers without power.
National Weather Service said not much has changed in the forecast and 8-15 inches of rain is anticipated in the region.
Several tornado warnings were issued across Onslow and Carteret counties, including Sneads Ferry, Atlantic Beach and Newport, but there has not been confirmation of any touchdowns, said meteorologist Hal Austin.
“We’ve had reports of lots and lots of flooding, particularly in Lenoir County. It’s pretty much everywhere there,” Austin said.
Austin said the worst of the wind is expected overnight.
Updated at 3:08 p.m.
So far the effects of the storm aren’t too bad in Onslow County.
Residents are faring alright in the early portion of Hurricane Matthew, but water levels are rising and Onslow County Communications Specialist Riley Eversull said the worst is yet to come.
So far, she’s been handling getting residents in need to shelters but did have a few road updates.
Highway 53 between Holly Shelter and Blue Creek roads was previously impassable due to a large tree that had fallen, but Eversull said it’s been cleared. However, Fulcher Landing Loop Road in Sneads Ferry has been closed due to flooding, she said.
In Jacksonville, the city posted on Facebook to say Loyola and Wardola streets are also impassable due to flooding.
There’s been some flooded areas in Beulaville, specifically on N.C. 24 at the BB&T stoplight, according to Beulaville Police Department Officer Rudolph Becton.
With the rain calming down the roads were returning to normal, but Becton said it would get pretty deep once more when the rain picks back up.
In Richlands, all streets are currently open for drivers – it’s just really wet out there, said Richlands Police Chief Ron Lindig. A wreck in the county section of Richlands caused a power outage earlier in the day Saturday, but Lindig said that’s been taken care of and power has been restored.
But there are thousands of Onslow County residents currently without power. Duke Energy Progress has 1,236 without power, the first outage reported at 8:27 a.m. and their site says they’re currently assessing the damage. Most of the outages are along U.S. 258.
Jones Onslow EMC has reported 2,692 without power, the longest outage reported around 10 a.m.
Stay with JDNews.com for the latest updates.
Updated at 2:16 p.m.
Rain is becoming more steady in the Swansboro area after a morning of on and off showers and the occasional heavy rain.
The downtown waterfront was a popular spot for storm watching early afternoon Winds were gusty on the water and kicking up the waters of the White Oak River.
Signs of flooding were beginning to show in the areas that typically see flooding during storms. Downtown streets were still passable but a barricade was put up on Church Street near the intersection with Front Street where there was high water.
Graphiq UPDATE at 2:08 p.m.
Swansboro has announced a 7 p.m. curfew.
UPDATE at 1:41 p.m.
Cape Carteret has announced a voluntary evacuation from low lying areas of town as well as a 9 p.m. curfew until further notice.
Updated at 12:48 p.m.
Strong winds and heavy rains pounded the coast Saturday as Hurricane Matthew approached the area.
Area grocery store parking lots remained packed Saturday morning while lines of cars could be seen at area ice machines.
Onslow County had seen nearly an inch of rain by noon with the worst yet to come, forecasters at the National Weather Service in Newport said. Winds were measured as high as 56 mph.
Shelters were established at Dixon High School, Jacksonville Commons Middle School, Richlands High School and Swansboro High School with doors opening at 7 a.m.
By early afternoon, the shelters had nearly 50 area residents, according to Riley Eversull, Onslow County communications specialist.
Dixon High School had four people and a dog. Jacksonville Commons Middle School had 24 people and a dog. Richlands High School had 16 people while Swansboro High School had five people.
Also in Onslow County, Albert J. Ellis Airport reported all Delta and American Airlines flights were canceled and advised passengers to contact their airlines for more details.
Falling tree branches and high winds caused more than 2,000 people without power in Onslow County and more than 15,000 in the coastal area to experience a power outage while the category one storm neared the area. Both Duke Energy and Jones Onslow EMC responded to make repairs, the most significant of which were in the Richlands area.
In Jones County a state of emergency was issued Saturday morning and a shelter was slated to open at Jones County Civic Center at 2 p.m.
Emerald Isle imposed a town curfew from 9 p.m. Saturday to 7 a.m. Sunday. The Emerald Isle Bridge will be closed during the curfew, according to information from Carteret County.
While Saturday brought heavy winds and rain, Sunday is expected to be windy but without the rain.
“We’re going to have some gusty winds on the back end as the system departs but the rain should be tapering off through the morning hours,” said Lara Pagano, meteorologist.
The 5 a.m. update from National Weather Service didn't have any major changes to Hurricane Matthew's forecast.
Onslow and Carteret counties are under a Hurricane Watch while all of Eastern North Carolina is under a Tropical Storm Warning and Flash Flood Watch.
The area is expected to get 8 to 15 inches of rain with winds of 35 to 45 mph., and gusts of up to 70 mph.
The storm surge of 2 to 4 feet above ground is primarily expected for adjacent to Pamlico Sound and along the Neuse and Pamlico rivers.
In Duplin County, NE Cape Fear River is expected to flood and near a record high stage early next week.
Folks near the river and its tributaries need to prepare for rising water levels and impassable roads. Major highways such as I-40, N.C. 24, and N.C. 41 will be affected by the river and may have to be closed.
Forecasters say that rain will have a difficult time draining due to how wet the ground is already in the area. This could cause additional flooding.
Stay with JDNews.com throughout the day for additional updates.