As Hurricane Florence approached the East Coast, local emergency and power crews geared up and headed into the storm to help.
Hillsborough County Fire Rescue, Pasco County Fire Rescue and Temple Terrace Fire Rescue sent emergency workers and equipment to North Carolina to prepare for what Hurricane Florence would bring to the coastal communities.
10News reporter Beau Zimmer and 10News photographer Angela Clooney went with the crews to document their time in North Carolina.
Saturday, September 15, 2018 3:00 p.m.
Local first-responders spend a tough night at an abandoned mental hospital in North Carolina.
Friday night, 12 local personnel were among the people re-assigned to the special needs shelter for the elderly and those who can't take care of themselves.
The facility was without electricity for a couple of hours, and is on minimal power now. That presents a challenge for the patients and the people taking care of them.
The shelter is without air conditioning, so some patients have been moved to cooler parts of the building where there are fans.
Despite the challenges, the team is in good spirits.
"I feel we're still very excited to be here," Hillsborough County Fire Rescue's Prudy Valejo said. "We're hoping to help as many people as we can."
Saturday, September 15, 2018 1:00 p.m.
Flood waters continue to rise across North Carolina.
Many roads and bridges across the state could be under rushing water soon.
The flooding is likely going to get worse through the middle of next week.
Friday, September 14, 2018 5:15 p.m.
Businesses around Kinston, North Carolina were closed for the storm for the most part.
But a Waffle House had its lights on and remained open through the winds and the rain of Florence.
Friday, September 14, 2018 5:00 p.m.
The rain was coming down hard in North Carolina, our crews had to keep wiping the drops away from the camera lens.
The water was rising all around the Kinston, North Carolina area.
Businesses close to flooding areas could soon be underwater as rain continues to fall in the area.
Friday, September 14, 2018 12:00 p.m.
10News was in downtown Kinston, North Carolina taking a look at the Neuse River. That’s the river in New Bern where there are lots of problems with flooding.
Reports said there were hundreds of people in New Bern trapped on the tops of their homes.
The river’s capacity is about 14-feet of water and it was at about seven feet Friday afternoon.
Meteorologists in the area said the river could be spilling over its banks into the community tonight, or early tomorrow.
A Temple Terrace crew just headed out to do an emergency transport about 45 minutes away from Kinston. Tampa bay crews have not started working on any of the water rescues there, but it would likely be something they get involved within the next few days.
Thursday, September 13, 2018, 11 p.m.
The weather in Kinston, North Carolina started to get intense around 9 p.m. Crews were seeing transformers blowing and some power lines were going down.
Tampa Bay’s first responders are riding out the storm in a local regional airport. They were in for the night until winds calmed down.
As soon as the storm passes they will jump in and help with the multiple 911 calls coming in.
A crew member from Temple Terrace said it was the waiting that was getting to him.
“We’re here ready to work, but we’re told we have to wait. So, it’s waiting and wondering, when we can get ready and the storm will let us get to go to work,” he said.
Thursday, September 13, 2018, 6 p.m.
Crews from the Sunshine State made their way back to Stallings Field in Kinston, North Carolina as the Hurricane Florence moved closer to shore.
Rescue operations were starting to dwindle down as the winds picked up. The ambulances used to transport people can only take a certain wind speed (around 50-60 mph).
Crews from Temple Terrace Fire were just getting in from a call. They had spent the day transporting patients away from the coast. They took one patient from Jacksonville, North Carolina, to Durham.
The crews drove about an hour and a half to pick the patient up and moved the patient about two and away.
Crews said hospitals on the coast were full, but still getting patients in.
Thursday, September 13, 2018, 5 p.m.
Folks from across the country joined our local Tampa Bay emergency crews in North Carolina to help communities prepare for the aftermath Hurricane Florence could bring,
As the storm makes its way closer to land, it was getting harder for the ambulances to get out and help people.
Local crews had cots set up inside a warehouse at the main staging area at Stallings Field in Kinston. That’s where they would hunker down through the worst of the storm.
Chris with Pasco County Fire said the crews had been on several missions. They were evacuating nursing homes and other people away from the coast.
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