NORTH CAROLINA -- Tropical Storm Ernesto made landfall in Brunswick County late Thursday night.
A state of emergency and voluntary evacuation is still in effect in Brunswick County. Local hurricane shelters are now open in New Hanover, Brunswick, Pender, Columbus and Bladen counties.
All flights at Wilmington International Airport were cancelled for Thursday evening. The early morning flights at ILM are also cancelled. The first departure will be at 9:30 a.m.
Governor Mike Easley called up 150 National Guard troops and the State Emergency Response Team ahead of the storm. Easley wants everyone to stay alert and be prepared.
New Hanover County
The New Hanover County Emergency Operation Center is activated. Emergency workers had a meeting tonight. Many roads in the area are flooded. Wilmington Police is advising residents to refrain from driving. If you have to drive, stay away from standing water.
Johnson Elementary School is now open as a shelter.
Snow's Cut Bridge connecting Pleasure Island to the rest of New Hanover County is closed until further notice.
Wilmington city officials have opened several phone numbers for emergencies. To report flooding or other stormwater issues within the city, call 341-4646. To report trees or tree limbs blocking roadways within the city, call 341-7852.
Wilmington city trash and recycling pickup is expected to maintain a regular schedule on Friday.
A state of emergency has been declared in Brunswick County. Voluntary evacuation began at 3 p.m. Two hurricane shelters are now open for those in need.
Brunswick County's Emergency Operation Center has been operational in Bolivia. The center will be the command post for any emergency response related to Ernesto. Officials believe the main problem will be flooding.
Residents with non-emergency issues or concerns can call (910) 253-7453.
Although officials do not expect any major evacuations during this storm, county officials say the opening of the new Interstate 140 will reduce the time it takes for Brunswick County residents to get out of town.
I-140 links US-421 North to Interstate 40.