Florence live updates from the field Tuesday:

View The Original Article Here

Our reporters and photojournalists are in the field throughout the Carolinas reporting on the effects of Florence. Their Monday reports are here and their Sunday reports are here.

You can follow them at https://twitter.com/newsobserver/lists/hurricane-mcclatchy

In the wake of Hurricane Florence, I wanted to take a moment to speak to our residents about what we have been through and where we go from here. Many people across the state and nation are still underestimating the impact of this storm. While we are certainly relieved that the storm hit at lower wind speeds than originally projected, I caution you to not underestimate the damage sustained. Initial assessments tell us that approximately 874 structures sustained minor damage and approximately 77 structures sustained major damage in North Topsail Beach. Additionally, our Town sustained washed out dunes, utility outages, debris and other road hazards. It is not safe to allow our residents to return at this time. We hope to allow reentry to our residents on Wednesday, but this is an admittedly optimistic goal. Reentry is contingent upon several factors, the chief of which is safety. Please, do not travel to North Topsail Beach until we announce definitive plans for reentry. We have deployed road, damage assessment and utility crews to restore the island to safe conditions. Every effort is being made to make conditions safe for your return. Next, I would like to address concerns regarding communication in the aftermath of this hurricane. Cell towers were down in the area, and North Topsail Beach was not the only community to feel the impact. Due to these losses, Town staff could not provide information as frequently as planned. I was aware of these issues and monitored closely while staff strategized alternatives. We have found workarounds and are diligently working to increase information output. Lastly, I want to thank those in our community who have reached out to offer support to our first responders, town staff and clean‐up teams by way of housing, meals and other resources. Hurricanes are an unfortunate reality for coastal towns. In these particularly difficult times, it is reassuring to see our community come together as one. Please, continue to check our Facebook page for updates. Sincerely, Daniel Tuman Mayor of North Topsail Beach