Wednesday, 19 September, 2018

National Hurricane Center Updates Current Status of Tropical Storm Florence

Media playback is unsupported on your device                  Media captionBBC on the ground as Hurricane Florence arrives Media playback is unsupported on your device Media captionBBC on the ground as Hurricane Florence arrives
Deanna Wagner | 16 September, 2018, 12:41

After reaching a terrifying Category 4 peak of 140 mph (225 kph) earlier in the week, Florence made landfall as a Category 1 hurricane at 7:15 a.m.at Wrightsville Beach, a few miles (kilometres) east of Wilmington and not far from the SC line.

The storm made landfall on Friday near Wilmington, a city of about 120,000 squeezed between North Carolina's Atlantic coastline and the Cape Fear River.

National Hurricane Center Director Ken Graham said radar and rain gauges indicated some areas got as much as 2½ feet of rain, which he called "absolutely staggering".

A couple of tornadoes are still possible through Sunday in North Carolina and northeastern SC, the NHC said.

Florence "will continue to track slowly inland through the Carolinas this weekend", the National Weather Service said in its 8:00 a.m. update Saturday.

Rainfall also is swelling waterways: Meteorologist Ryan Maue of weathermodels.com calculated that 34 million people in the USA are forecast to get at least 3 inches of rain from Hurricane Florence, with more than 5.7 million people probably getting at least a foot of rain. Meteorologist Ryan Maue of weathermodels.com estimates Florence could dump about 18 trillion gallons (68 trillion liters) of rain.

"I can not overstate it: flood waters are rising".

Florence was moving west-southwest at about 5 miles per hour (7 km/h), with its center located over eastern SC.

Once a Category 4 hurricane with winds of 140 miles per hour (225 kph), the hurricane was downgraded to a Category 1 on Thursday night.

This is the freakish moment a TV weatherman appeared to be caught faking his battle against gale-force winds during Storm Florence.

As it made landfall on the United States southeast coast on Friday, Florence buckled buildings, flooded entire communities and left more than 900,000 homes and businesses without power.

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That's how hard the wind gusted in North Carolina's New River Inlet. The flash flooding could devastate communities and endanger dams, roads and bridges.

Stream gauges across the region showed water levels rising steadily, with forecasts calling for rivers to crest Sunday and Monday at or near record levels.

A man sits on a park bench in a flooded park as the Cape Fear River rises above its usual height in Wilmington, N.C., on Friday. The evacuation zone included part of the city of Fayetteville, population 200,000. He moved quickly as workers helped him empty more than 1,000 mattresses from a warehouse in a low-lying strip mall.

Even as the winds abated, the waters rose. The city said two FEMA teams were working on swift-water rescues and more were on the way.

Sutton was mothballed in 2013 and the company has been excavating ash to remove to safer lined landfills. The gray ash left behind when coal is burned contains toxic heavy metals, including lead and arsenic.

This main threat - flooding - is coming into focus. "That's why we've been preaching to people that you have to get away from the water".

"Right now we've rescued over 400 people". Mackie rode in a boat through a flooded neighborhood, navigating through trees and past a fencepost to reach the Knox house.

"If you aren't watching for them, you are risking your life".

A town spokesman said between 60 and 75 people were awaiting rescue yesterday morning.

Power outages mounted until almost 700,000 customers were in the dark in North Carolina alone.

Southwestern Virginia is also expecting up to 10in (25cm).