Tropical Storm Ian has claimed four lives in North Carolina thus far, Gov. Roy Cooper said Saturday, including the victims of two traffic accidents and a carbon monoxide poisoning, all in Johnston County.
“The storm has passed, but many hazards remain with downed trees, downed power lines and power outages,” Cooper said. “We mourn with the families of those who have died and urge everyone to be cautious while cleaning up to avoid more deaths or injuries.”
Tropical Storm Ian left nearly 50,000 people in the Triangle without power Saturday — after peaking at almost 90,000 Friday night — but spared the region any major damage, knocking down trees but sweeping through the state without widely expected flooding.
Duke Power reported roughly 850,000 outages across North and South Carolina through the duration of the storm, more than half of which had been restored by Saturday afternoon.
At its peak, Ian left more than 70% of the customers hard-hit Edgecombe County in the dark.
Cooper said four deaths are being attributed to the storm:
A 25-year-old man who died Friday after losing control of his car on a wet road in Johnston County and hydroplaning into another car.
A 24-year-old woman who died in Clayton Friday when her car ran off a rain-covered road and into a tree.
A 65-year-old man in Johnston County who died of carbon monoxide poisoning after leaving a generator running in his garage Friday night. The man’s wife was hospitalized.
A 22-year-old man who drowned in Martin County when his truck ran off a roadway and into a flooded swamp Friday night.
Cooper did not name any of the victims.
Hurricane Ian made landfall in South Carolina Friday and quickly weakened into a tropical storm, the National Hurricane Center reported.
By Saturday, all warnings had been lifted for Raleigh, Durham and the Triangle region.
Alternating between hurricane and tropical storm strength, Ian hit Raleigh with winds topping out at 49 mph, according to the National Weather Service. Rainfall in the capital totaled slightly more than 4 inches.
358,000 power outages in NC
North Carolina suffered 358,741 power outages late Friday as Ian, weakened to a post-tropical cyclone, battered the state.
The bulk of those hit Wake, Guilford, Durham and Forsyth counties.
Power remained out in about half of Pittsboro Saturday morning, leaving some businesses closed. Duke Energy trucks could be seen on the roads and some crews were working to repair damaged lines.
Flash flood warning
The National Weather Service issued a flash flood warning Friday for Wake, Lee, Chatham, Johnston, Harnett, Moore, Hoke and Cumberland counties.
But those alerts were all lifted by Saturday morning and the region saw little of the deep water forecasters feared.
The storm’s highest wind gusts were clocked at 59 mph in the town of Maxton in Robeson County, 56 mph near Fort Bragg and near Fayetteville and 49 mph near Goldsboro as of 4 p.m., according to the NWS.
Over 6 inches of rain were reported in coastal towns like Frisco and Cedar Island.
Hurricane Ian arrives
As Hurricane Ian hit the South Carolina coast, North Carolina coastal towns were already seeing its impact.
A photo in New Hanover County tweeted by the NWS showed 6 inches of standing water on the road.
Surge flooding also hit coastal areas, such as the marina of Carolina Beach, according to footage tweeted by WFMY News 2.
— Tim Buckley (@TimBuckleyWX) September 30, 2022
A NWS worker took a striking image of a waterspout over the Bogue Sound, a funnel-shaped vortex that forms over bodies of water.
This #waterspout was captured by one of our co workers just after 2 PM on Bogue Sound, near the Bogue Watch community. We continue to watch the radar closely for tornado potential through evening. Have multiple ways to receive warnings and be ready to seek shelter quickly. #ian pic.twitter.com/TNCZrTmBGf
— NWS Newport/Morehead (@NWSMoreheadCity) September 30, 2022
On Thursday afternoon, Gov. Roy Cooper told North Carolinians to prepare for the storm, calling it “dangerous and even deadly.”
Earlier in the week, he declared a state of emergency and activated about 80 members of the North Carolina National Guard.