Update 8:55 p.m.

Hurricane Michael is still on track for Eastern North Carolina -- but it is weakening and expected to come through as a tropical storm.

According to Tom Lonka, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Newport, the afternoon commute may be impacted but conditions will not be totally unsafe for travel. As tropical storm Michael moves through, it is expected to bring rain and gusty wind to the area sometime Thursday afternoon into the evening, Lonka added.

According to the NWS, sustained winds of 31 mph are possible in Jacksonville, 30 mph in New Bern and 29 mph in Kinston. Wind gusts are possible up to 40 mph.

Rain is also expected, but the forecast is calling for clear skies by Friday morning.

“The heaviest rain will be in the afternoon into the early evening -- by midnight (Thursday) it should stop raining and it will go away,” Lonka said.

Besides flash flooding possible Thursday afternoon and evening, river flooding is possible in the Neuse River later next week. Tornadoes are also possible late Thursday afternoon, according to NWS, but Lonka said Michael is expected to pass through quickly.

As of 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, Michael was near Georgia traveling 17 mph. It was also down to a Category 1 and weakening.

“It’s definitely going to be just a tropical storm (Thursday), it won’t be a hurricane anymore,” Lonka said.

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Update 6:29 p.m.

North Topsail Beach has declared a State of Emergency for the town ahead of Hurricane Michael's arrival.

The declaration states the State of Emergency went into effect as of 3:30 p.m. Wednesday.

Mayor Edward Waltz has also declared a State of Emergency for Maysville, which went into effect at 6 p.m. and will be in effect until further notice, according to a press release from the town.

There is no evacuation or curfew in place, but the town asked residents to prepare for the storm with emergency plans and kits and by securing storm debris and tarps as well as preparing to be without power.

"Michael has the potential for 40-50MPH winds in our area. These winds and rain could produce further damage to already damaged trees, roofs, and power lines," the town wrote.

The town will be on a normal schedule as long as possible, but they asked residents not to take the storm lightly and "prepare, prepare and prepare!"

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Update 5:23 p.m.

The Town of Swansboro has also declared a State of Emergency and Pender County issued a state of emergency effective as of noon Oct. 9 due to the threat of damage related to Hurricane Michael.

Onslow County declared a State of Emergency earlier Wednesday afternoon. In a press release later in the day, County Manager David Cotton wrote:

“Our community is in a vulnerable state due to active recovery efforts as a result of the damage sustained from Hurricane Florence. “Therefore, in an abundance of caution; the County will implement the following: 1) partial activation of the Emergency Operations Center and Disaster Ready Team, 2) partial activation of the citizens’ phone bank, 3) the Multi-purpose Complex will be stood up as a shelter site. 4) County offices will close tomorrow, Thursday, October 11th, 2018 at 12:00 pm, 5) County offices will open on Friday, October 12th, 2018 at 8:00 am.”

The Citizens Phone Bank will be open 6 p.m. Wednesday until the deactivation of the EOC. The Multi-Purpose Complex, located at 4024 Richlands Hwy in Jacksonville, will open as a shelter at 9 a.m. Thursday and will accommodate residents with special needs and will also be pet friendly. If someone chooses to bring a pet they must be there with their pet and bring all necessary supplies.

To stay updated with the latest information on Hurricane Michael, citizens are encouraged to download the CodeRed mobile app and subscribe to AlertOnslow or follow county social media sites.

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Update 3:41 p.m.

Onslow County has declared a state of emergency due to the threat of damages related to Hurricane Michael.

A proclamation declaring a state of emergency was signed Wednesday afternoon by Onslow County Board of Commissioners Chairman Jack Bright and remains in effect until 12:01 a.m. Sunday.

Emergency Services Director Norman Bryson is chief coordinating officer for the county during this time and County Manager David Cotton, or his designee, are directed to seek assistance from federal government agencies as needed in responding to the emergency and seeking reimbursement for costs incurred.

In addition, closures related to Michael are coming in, including Lenoir County Public Schools, which will be closed for students and staff Thursday and operate on a two-hour delay on Friday. Their decision was made in response to Lenoir County Emergency Management and the National Weather Service announcing expected worsening weather and travel conditions throughout the day on Thursday, according to an email from LCPS Public Information Officer Patrick Holmes.

Craven Community College will also be closed Thursday, according to a press release, though no decision for Friday has yet been made.

The River Bend Town Council meeting has postponed their originally-scheduled Thursday meeting to Oct. 18 at 7 p.m.

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Update 3:02 p.m.

There will be no school for students or staff Thursday for Carteret County Public Schools.

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Update 2:40 p.m.

Jacksonville Mayor Sammy Phillips has declared a State of Emergency for the city as a precaution due to potential damage from the effects of Hurricane Michael.

According to a city news release, the declaration takes effect at 6 p.m. Wednesday.

City residents are asked to keep storm drains clear in front of their homes to help reduce potential flooding.

Jacksonville Transit will continue to operate on a normal schedule as long as possible but cannot operate with winds are above 45 mph, or if resources are not available due to the storm.

City offices and operations are expected to continues on a normal schedule on Thursday.

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Update 1:39 p.m.

High winds and rain are expected from Hurricane Michael when in makes its way to the Carolinas as a tropical storm.

“The peak of this event (for Eastern North Carolina) should be Thursday late afternoon and evening, and after midnight things should start to improve,” said meteorologist Hal Austin with the National Weather Service forecast office in Newport.

Hurricane Michael made landfall around the Florida panhandle Wednesday as a major hurricane and is expected to weaken to a tropical storm as it tracks northeast and through the Carolinas Thursday and Thursday night.

Gov. Roy Cooper declared a State of Emergency Wednesday to prepare North Carolina for impacts from Hurricane Michael.

“The last thing people cleaning up from Florence need right now is more wind and rain. But this storm is coming, and we will be ready for it,” Cooper said via a news release.

A tropical storm warning was in place for most of Eastern North Carolina by Wednesday afternoon.

Austin said the storm is forecasted to bring sustained winds of about 25 to 30 mph to the Onslow County area, with gusts up around 50 mph. Wind speeds are expected to be highest along the coast and sounds.

The National Weather Service said the area could see trees down, which could cause some power outages if they hit power lines. Those with tarps on rooftops should make sure they are secure along with any loose items could blow around.

“If you can secure it, I would,” Austin said.

Austin said Michael will be fast-moving but will also bring more rain.

The more inland areas of the forecast area around northern Duplin, Pitt and Greene counties could see three to four inches of rain. The forecast for the Onslow County area is less with about two to three inches of rain, mainly on Thursday but some rain from the storm to begin Wednesday.

Flood warnings have been issued for the Neuse River at Kinston and the Tar River at Greenville.

According to the NWS briefing on Wednesday, based on the track and projected rainfall, the two areas could see minor river flooding by the weekend and moderate river flooding by early next week.

At 9 p.m. Tuesday, the Neuse River was at 12.9 feet and flood stage is 14 feet. The NWS said the river is expected to rise to near flood stage Sunday evening, and at 14 feet water overflows into lowlands adjacent to the river.

Heavy rain could cause flash flooding and river flooding, and Cooper cautioned people who live in flood-prone areas to keep a close eye on the forecast and to be ready to evacuate if asked to.

Cooper has activated 150 National Guard troops.

The highest likelihood for storm surge inundation is along soundside Outer Banks. A high threat of rip currents and minor to moderate beach erosion along all beaches in the area.

The area could also see isolated tornadoes on Thursday.

“Where we are (in the storm track), we’ll be in the more favorable quadrant for tornado activity,” Austin said.

Reporter Jannette Pippin can be reached at 910-382-2557 or Jannette.Pippin@JDNews.com.

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There is still time to prepare for the high winds and rain expected from Hurricane Michael when in makes its way to the Carolinas as a tropical storm.

“The peak of this event (for Eastern North Carolina) should be Thursday late afternoon and evening, and after midnight things should start to improve,” said meteorologist Hal Austin with the National Weather Service forecast office in Newport.

Hurricane Michael is expected to make landfall around the Florida panhandle today as a major hurricane and then weaken to a tropical storm as it tracks northeast and through the Carolinas Thursday and Thursday night.

Onslow County and most of Eastern North Carolina remains under a tropical storm watch, with southeastern counties under a tropical storm warning.

Austin said the storm is forecasted to bring sustained winds of about 25 to 30 mph to the Onslow County area, with gusts up around 50 mph. Wind speeds are expected to be highest along the coast and sounds.

The National Weather Service said the area could see trees down, which could cause some power outages if they hit power lines. Those with tarps on rooftops should make sure they are secure along with any loose items that could blow around.

“If you can secure it, I would,” Austin said.

Austin said Michael will be fast-moving but will also bring more rain.

The more inland areas of the forecast area around northern Duplin, Pitt and Greene counties could see three to four inches of rain. The forecast for the Onslow County area is less with about two to three inches of rain, mainly on Thursday but some rain from the storm to begin Wednesday.

The area could also see an increased risk of tornadoes on Thursday.

“Where we are (in the storm track), we’ll be in the more favorable quadrant for tornado activity,” Austin said.