Hurricane Florence's onslaught threatens disaster in North Carolina
Hurricane Florence's onslaught threatens disaster in North Carolina
15 September, 2018, 16:28
US power companies said over 895,000 homes and businesses located mostly in North Carolina and SC were without power on Friday after Florence hit the Southeast coast.
Hurricane Florence brought a storm surge of some 3 meters (10 feet) as it began battering the USA east coast early on Friday.
Gov. Roy Cooper issued a public warning Friday that the storm was still in the early stages and that conditions - including severe flooding, landslides in the mountains, and power outages statewide - would only get worse.
Most of the damage during Hurricane Matthew in 2016 in North Carolina came from inland flooding - 31 people died and almost 100,000 homes were destroyed.
About 1.7 million people have been told to evacuate from coastal areas in the two Carolinas and Virginia. "Once these winds start blowing at that tropical-storm rate, it will be virtually impossible for the rescuers to get in to rescue you". So if you can leave, now would be a good time to go ahead and leave and you can always get back in. "But we're going to be okay", he said. Hurricane force winds extended 80 miles from the centre of the storm, while tropical storm force winds extended up to 195 miles.
As of the 7:45 a.m. update from the National Hurricane Center, the storm's center made landfall near Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina.
Meanwhile, lane reversals on US 501 in the Grand Strand ended at noon Thursday and reversals on I-26 ended Thursday night, allowing state police and transportation workers to get to safety before the storm hits.
Florence has been looming offshore, with its wind-speed fluctuating; on Thursday it was downgraded to a Category 2 storm from a Category 4.
Workers are being brought in from the Midwest and Florida to help in the storm's aftermath, the company said.
Hurricane Florence making landfall in Carolinas As of Friday morning, Hurricane Florence made landfall as a Category 1 hurricane and is now soaking the North Carolina coast. The Miami-based center says Florence is bringing "catastrophic" fresh water flooding over a wide area of the Carolinas.
Two women who were riding out the storm dance to the music outside the Barbary Coast bar in downtown Wilmington, N.C., as Hurricane Florence threatens the coast, September 13, 2018.
The hurricane was seen as a major test for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which was heavily criticized as sluggish and unprepared for Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico past year.
As Florence drew near, U.S. President Donald Trump tweeted that FEMA and first responders are "supplied and ready", and he disputed the official conclusion that almost 3,000 people died in Puerto Rico, claiming the figure was a Democratic plot to make him look bad. "Today the threat becomes a reality", according to The Associated Press.
"One minute we're at a high state of alert, the next we're at a low state, but we can adapt to the situation", said Capt. Eric Abdullah, of the Aiken County Sheriff's Office, who said officials were trying to stay flexible.
The high winds will likely snap or uproot numerous trees.
Rainfalls up to 40 inches (102 centimeters) in some places are expected in a region ranging from coastal North Carolina to northeastern SC, with flash flooding likely, according to the NHC.
"We're a little anxious about the storm surge so we came down to see what the river is doing now", said Linda Smith, 67, a retired nonprofit director. Life-threatening storm surge and rainfall are expected.
Ken Graham, the director of the NHC, said: "It truly is really about the whole size of this storm".
Nathan Deal says the state "is mobilizing all available resources to ensure public safety ahead of Hurricane Florence ". For example, the seas off of Wilmington, North Carolina have risen 7.5 inches since 1935, according to NOAA.
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No deaths have been reported in New Bern , but the situation caused by Hurricane Florence is dire, the mayor said. Meanwhile more than 630,000 homes and businesses were left without power by Friday afternoon.
By Friday evening, the centre of the storm had moved to eastern SC , with maximum sustained winds of 70 miles per hour . A gust of 169km/h was recorded at Wilmington airport, surpassing the power of Hurricane Fran two decades ago.
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Emergency declarations were in force in Georgia, South and North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia. The storm surge could reach up to more than 3.9m, if the maximum surge coincides with high tide.
The effects of Hurricane Florence can already be felt along the coast of North Carolina as of 12 p.m. on September 13. Forecasters said "catastrophic" freshwater flooding was expected along waterways far from the coast of North and SC .
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Hurricane Florence bears down on Carolinas
North Carolina , South Carolina , Virginia, and Maryland and Columbia (Washington DC) have all declared states of emergency. Thus, extremely heavy rains, flash floods, high velocity winds, along with a storm surge of over 10 feet is expected.
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