ICE PROMISES NOT TO ROUND UP IMMIGRANTS FLEEING FROM FLORENCE: Immigrants in North Carolina and South Carolina shouldn’t worry about being arrested by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement as they evacuate their homes or at the emergency shelters, an ICE spokesperson said Wednesday. Bryan Cox, spokesperson for ICE in the southern region, said everyone should follow local evacuation orders during Hurricane Florence. “Our highest priority remains the preservation of life and safety,” Cox said in an email. “In consideration of these circumstances, there will be no immigration enforcement initiatives associated with evacuations or sheltering related to Florence, except in the event of a serious public safety threat.” Hurricane Florence has forced more than 1 million residents in the Carolinas and Virginia to evacuate their homes.
NEW BERN FLOODS AS STORM SURGE HITS NC, SC COASTS: Colleen Roberts, a spokesperson for the City of New Bern, said that 200 people have been rescued and another 150 are awaiting rescue. Most rescues have been of people inside their homes and many shelters in the area are nearing capacity. "It is a challenging situation right now, but we want residents to know that we will come get you," Roberts said. "These are folks that, for whatever reason, decided to stay and wait out the storm instead of going inland." Roberts said officials in the city measured a storm surge of 10 feet at 2 p.m. Thursday and that has continued to increase as Florence moved closer to the coast. "New Bern is situated on two rivers. Those rivers have risen very quickly in this storm," she said. Nearly 281,000 residents around North Carolina are without power with the bulk in New Hanover, Carteret, Craven and Onslow counties, according to an online power outage map. Some outages have been reported in Cary.
MAJOR CROP LOSSES EXPECTED IN EASTERN NORTH CAROLINA: Pitt County famer Lawrence Davenport picked corn every day this week from sunup until midnight, trying to salvage as much of his crop as possible before Hurricane Florence reached the county. His tobacco and soybean crops will likely suffer a more disastrous fate. ‘We picked all the corn we can pick; the rest will go into the ground,” Davenport said. The weather nightmare will only worsen when the storm finally passes. That is when rivers upstream will flow into the already saturated coastal plain, likely overflowing their banks in Pitt and all other coastal counties in the east, they said. Davenport remembers Hurricane Floyd and the devastation it wreaked on farmers. “It could very well be as bad now,” he said. “It would be a disaster.” The current shallow conditions of the Tar River, caused by sediment and debris buildup over decades, multiply the dangers of Florence’s rains, Davenport said.
MARK HARRIS BUYS A BUNCH OF ADVERTISING SPOTS ON THE WEATHER CHANNEL DURING FLORENCE: Democrat Dan McCready Wednesday suspended his campaign because of the storm. “I am ordering the suspension of the campaign. This is not a time to focus on politics, it’s a time to focus on the safety of the people of North Carolina,” he said in a statement. “That’s why we have directed all TV stations to suspend our campaign ads.” Harris, meanwhile, came under fire for taking out more ads on The Weather Channel in advance of the hurricane. HuffPost first reported that Harris had bought 56 additional commercial spots on the channel. Andrew Bates, a spokesman for a liberal group supporting McCready, said buying the ads in the middle of the hurricane reflects the GOP campaign’s “rotten values.”
DIANNE FEINSTEIN DROPS A SECRET BOMB ON KAVANAUGH, SOMETHING HE DID IN HIGH SCHOOL: The California Democrat said in a statement that she "received information from an individual concerning the nomination." She said the person "strongly requested confidentiality, declined to come forward or press the matter further, and I have honored that decision." The FBI confirmed that it received the information Wednesday evening and included it in Kavanaugh's background file, which is maintained as part of his nomination. The agency said that is its standard process. A Senate Democratic aide and another person familiar with the matter said it referred to an incident that occurred while Kavanaugh was high-school age. The two spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to discuss the matter. The details of the alleged incident and the identity of the person who provided the information were unclear.