Monday, 22 October, 2018

Hurricane Florence: 150,000 lose power as storm pummels Carolinas

A man walks past a boarded up business before Hurricane Florence comes ashore in Wilmington North Carolina A man walks past a boarded up business before Hurricane Florence comes ashore in Wilmington North Carolina
Deanna Wagner | 15 September, 2018, 16:30

Forecasters said conditions would only get more lethal when the storm smashed ashore early on Friday near the North Carolina-South Carolina line and crawled slowly inland.

Florence, though downgraded to a Category 2 storm on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale, remained risky and unpredictable, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) said.

According to the National Hurricane Centre, heavy rains with tropical-storm-force winds were yesterday spreading across the outer banks and coastal south-eastern North Carolina.

Officials said some 1.7 million people in the Carolinas and Virginia were warned to evacuate, but it's unclear how many did. "We're looking at tropical-storm force winds in our area for several hours, and that can cause a lot of damage - not to mention the rain we're looking at".

"It is scary. When somebody tells you something like that, it's my cue to get out".

General O'Shaughnessy said there were about 7,000 United States military personnel now in place and ready to respond to the storm, along with ships, helicopters, high-wheeled vehicles and other equipment. "The larger and the slower the storm is, the greater the threat and the impact - and we have that".

The 400-mile wide storm is expected to start slamming the N.C. coast sometime Thursday night or early Friday, then weaken to a tropical storm as it drifts into SC, said John Quagliariello, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Columbia.

The storm was a unsafe Category 4 hurricane Wednesday but has been downgraded to a Category 2 storm Thursday.

A camera at the Frying Pan Tower located 34 miles off the coast of Cape Fear, North Carolina has been livestreaming a view of the Atlantic Ocean since May, and is powering through the storm to dutifully record an American flag over the rising waves.

A storm surge of nine to 12 feet (2.7-3.6 meters) was expected along the North Carolina coast, Goldstein said, and some areas could receive as much as one metre (40 inches) of rain.

The hurricane was seen as a major test for the country's Federal Emergency Management Agency, which was heavily criticized as slow and unprepared for Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico a year ago.

Incredible Hurricane Florence weather report goes viral
The area is contending with rising floodwaters as Hurricane Florence brings storm surge and rain into the low-lying town. Hurricane Florence's center made landfall at Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina on 7.15 a.m.

Thursday afternoon, President Donald Trump tweeted that he had just been briefed on the storm and "FEMA, First Responders and Law Enforcement are supplied and ready".

Spanish moss waved in the trees as the winds picked up in Wilmington, and floating docks bounced atop swells at Morehead City. "Today the threat becomes a reality".

"On a scale of one to 10, I'm probably a seven in terms of worry, she said".

Boarding up his home in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, Chris Pennington monitored the forecasts and tried to decide when to leave.

Utility companies are predicting power outages that could reach between one-to-three million across both North and SC for days and possibly weeks.

Long said the danger was not only along the coast.

As of 5 a.m., Florence was centered about 25 miles (35 kilometers) east of Wilmington, North Carolina.

A buoy off the North Carolina coast recorded waves almost 30 feet (9 meters) high as Florence churned toward shore.

NHC Director Ken Graham said on Facebook the storm surges could push in as far as 2 miles (3 km).

"If I'm wrong, I'll see them on the other side".