ROCKINGHAM ― As Hurricane Ian approaches the South Carolina coast for its second landfall, Richmond County first responders are working to keep roads clear.
Winds have been blowing and rain has been falling all day Friday, resulting in downed trees and power and utility lines.
At 2 p.m., Northside Fire Department Chief Ed Causey said there were about 10 active calls across the county, with his department tackling two trees down.
Rockingham Fire Chief Harold Isler said there were two calls of powerlines on fire on Midway Road near the exit ramp.
A tree was also uprooted downtown near Rockingham First United Methodist Church.
The Hamlet Fire Department had also already responded to a tree down on Scholl Shankle Road and lines down on Seaboard Street, according to Assistant Fire Chief Richard Lassiter.
Both Lassister and Isler said there had been no reports yet of major structural damage.
As of the 2 p.m. update from the National Hurricane Center, Hurricane Ian was 55 miles east-northeast of Charleston, South Carolina, just off the coast of Pawley’s Island and the Tom Yawkey Wildlife Center.
Maximum sustained winds were 85 mph and the storm was moving at 15 mph.
Myrtle Beach and Murrells Inlet are already seeing flooding.
The current forecast track has Ian making its way north-northwest, with the eye scheduled to pass near Galivants Ferry and Marion around 8 p.m.
The entry point into North Carolina has continued to move eastward, with the storm passing through Gibson and just east of Hamlet during the overnight hours, reaching High Point by 8 a.m.
Wind speeds at Camp Mackall just before 2 p.m. were 43 mph.
Duke Energy reports that around 56,000 of its customers across the Carolinas are without power, including nearly 4,000 in Robeson County and more than 2,800 in Moore County.
Roughly 1,600 homes and businesses in Richmond County are without power, based on on reports from both Duke and Pee Dee Electric.
Richmond County remains under flood watch until 8 a.m. Saturday, as well as a tropical storm warning.