Saturday, 15 December, 2018

Florence weakens to Category 2 hurricane but still life-threatening: NHC

S Stunning images of Florence from space S Stunning images of Florence from space
Sandy Nunez | 15 September, 2018, 06:42

The Miami-based center says the center of the eye moved ashore with top sustained winds of 90 miles per hour, making Florence a Category 1 hurricane in terms of wind intensity.

It was expected to drop eight months worth of rain in just a few days on North Carolina as residents prepared for a deluge some were calling "the great soak".

The center said the water level could hit from 7 to 10 feet from Cape Fear to Cape Lookout, North Carolina, and from 6 to 9 feet from Cape Lookout to Ocracoke Inlet.

Florence flattened trees, crumbled roads and the assault wasn't anywhere close to being over, with the siege in the Carolinas expected to last all weekend.

In the city of New Bern, one of the hardest hit areas in North Carolina, more than 300 people were trapped in cars, on roofs and in their attics overnight after over 10 feet of storm surge flooded the river-front city.

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper called Florence an "uninvited brute" that could wipe out entire communities as it grinds across the state.

"What happens is that we rescue some people and then we find out there are still more who need it", Outlaw said.

"We have crews sheltered in place at this time, waiting for the storm's passage", said Capt. Bion Stewart, the Coast Guard incident commander for Hurricane Florence.

A woman and her child died after a tree fell on their house in Wilmington, North Carolina, the first reported fatalities from Hurricane Florence, which made landfall earlier on Friday. A fourth person was killed in Lenoir County while plugging in a generator, the governor's office said.

Eudy and his family stayed home in New Bern in part to protect their house.

"I feel like the dumbest human being who ever walked the face of the earth", Ballance said. At 1 p.m. Thursday the storm was churning maximum sustained winds of 105 mph located about 115 miles south-southeast of Wilmington, N.C., according to the hurricane center. It came ashore along a mostly boarded-up, emptied-out stretch of coastline.

Hurricane Florence map uses an unfortunate graphic to display devastation
Michael Kennedy, an engineer at Boeing, said he planned to leave on Tuesday for his parents' home in Atlanta, Georgia. More than 485,000 homes and businesses were without power in North and SC early on Friday , utility officials said.

The storm was expected to move across parts of southeastern North Carolina and eastern SC on Friday and Saturday, then head north over the western Carolinas and central Appalachian Mountains early next week, the NHC said.

But it was clear that this was really about the water, not the wind. That happened previous year when Hurricane Harvey dumped more than 150 centimeters (60 inches) of rain on the Houston, Texas, area.

Florence has it all: Hot ocean temperatures that fuel hurricanes.

Forecasters said "catastrophic" freshwater flooding was expected along waterways far from the coast of North and SC. NHC noted "Life-threatening, catastrophic flash flooding and prolonged significant river flooding are likely over portions of the Carolinas and the southern and central Appalachians through early next week, as Florence is expected to slow down while it moves inland".

Authorities warned, too, of the threat of mudslides and the risk of an environmental disaster from floodwaters washing over industrial waste sites and hog farms.

Federal Emergency Management Agency administrator Brock Long warned on Thursday that inland flooding could be deadly and the cleanup will take time and patience.

The National Hurricane Center downgraded it to a tropical storm but said life-threatening storm surges and catastrophic freshwater flooding were expected over portions of North and SC.

"The time to prepare is nearly over", North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper told a morning news conference. That's enough to fill the Chesapeake Bay or cover the entire state of Texas with almost 4 inches (10 centimeters) of water, he calculated.

"We may have 60% of the tobacco harvested in North Carolina". Pieces of buildings ripped apart by the storm flew through the air. Shortly afterward, the National Weather Service reported wind gusts to 105 miles per hour at Wilmington International Airport, the highest wind gust measured in Wilmington since Hurricane Helene hit the port city in 1958. Nationwide, airlines canceled more than 2,400 flights through Sunday.

"The sun rose this morning on an extremely risky situation and it's going to get worse", he said at a news conference in Raleigh.

"These are folks who chose to stay and ride out the storm for whatever reason, despite having a mandatory evacuation", city public information officer Colleen Roberts said. He apparently was blown down after he went outside to check on his hunting dogs, local media said.