Tuesday, 18 December, 2018

Hurricane Florence deluges Carolinas ahead of landfall

Waves slam the Oceana Pier & Pier House Restaurant in Atlantic Beach N.C. on Thursday Waves slam the Oceana Pier & Pier House Restaurant in Atlantic Beach N.C. on Thursday
Sandy Nunez | 16 September, 2018, 00:58

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WILMINGTON, North Carolina - The outer bands of Hurricane Florence drenched the Carolinas on Thursday, flooding roads, gorging rivers and knocking out power in an ominous glimpse of the damage the storm could inflict when it makes landfall on Friday with millions of people in its path.

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper urged people to take the storm seriously.

As has been the case with hurricanes in most recent years, such as Lane in Hawaii earlier this summer and Harvey last year in Texas, feet of rain can fall when these tropical storms stall.

"Just because the wind speed came down, the intensity of this storm came down to a Cat 2, please do not let your guard down", said Brock Long, the administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The National Weather Service measured storm surge in New Bern at 10 feet (3 meters) deep.

Florence was downgraded to a Category 2 storm overnight on the five-level Saffir-Simpson wind scale but it is still packing hurricane-force winds of 100 miles (155 kilometers) per hour, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) said. The center of the storm is expected to hit North Carolina's southern coast by Friday.

Avair Vereen, 39, took her seven children to a shelter in Conway High School near Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

A damaged house is seen after Hurricane Florence struck in Winnabow, North Carolina, U.S., September 15, 2018. "I've got four cats inside the house". "We have a safe basement and generator that comes on automatically".

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

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One of the island's main attractions, Navagio has a shipwreck on the shore and is surrounded by steep cliffs . Rescue services employed sniffer dogs to search the beach itself for possible victims of the rockfall .

"On the forecast track, the center of Florence is expected to move inland across extreme southeastern North Carolina and extreme eastern South Carolina Friday and Saturday", the NHC said.

Florence diminished from hurricane strength as it came ashore on Friday, but forecasters said the 350-mile-wide storm's (560 km) slow progress across the two states could leave much of the region under water in the coming days.

It is set to make landfall midday today near Cape Fear, North Carolina, bringing up to 40 inches of rain, and storm surges as high as 13ft.

"This rainfall will produce catastrophic flash flooding and prolonged significant river flooding", NHC said.

The storm's first casualties, which included a mother and her baby killed when a tree fell on their brick house in Wilmington, North Carolina, were announced about eight hours after Florence came ashore. He asked citizens in danger zones to heed warnings because "your time is running out".

More than 1 million Virginians and Carolinians are under mandatory evacuation orders, but there is little government officials can do to force people from their homes. Along coastal communities, people trapped in homes by relentless flood waters awaited rescue, and tens of thousands hunkered down in shelters after fleeing their homes as the storm approached.

Washington, DC, Mayor Muriel Bowser and the governors of North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Georgia and Maryland have declared states of emergency.

Duke Energy, the nation's No. 2 power company, said Florence could knock out electricity to three-quarters of its 4 million customers in the Carolinas, and outages could last for weeks.

"This storm will bring destruction to North Carolina". "The shelters are not taking dogs", Ramirez said.