Carolinas coastal residents wait, watch as Florence's fury begins

Mindy Sparks
September 14, 2018

Winds and waves began battering the Carolinas on Thursday (Sep 13) as officials warned that Hurricane Florence - while weakening slightly - remains a "very risky storm" capable of wreaking havoc along a wide swathe of the US East Coast.

The impact of Florence will be widespread, with destructive winds, life-threatening storm surge, risky surf, torrential rainfall, flooding and the potential for tornadoes.

With South Carolina's beach towns now more in the bull's-eye because of the shifting forecast, OH vacationers Chris and Nicole Roland put off their departure from North Myrtle Beach to get the maximum amount of time on the sand.

Leventhal previously reported that officials will be closing the bridge that carries US Highway 74 from mainland New Hanover County onto the beach.

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

The hurricane is exposing other chinks in the supply chain, as many retailers big and small are running low on storm-prep essentials, from batteries, generators and plywood to bread and bottled water. And up to 3 million energy customers in North and SC could lose power for weeks.

Little change in strength is expected before the eye of Florence reaches the Carolina coast, with slow weakening expected after the center moves inland or meanders near the coast, the US National Hurricane Center (NHC) said.

In the 11 p.m. ET advisory, Florence was 280 miles southeast of Wilmington, NC, packing maximum-sustained winds of 110 mph and moving to the northwest at 17 mph.

According to the U.S. National Weather Service, there are 5.25 million residents in areas under hurricane warnings or watches, and 4.9 million in places under tropical storm warnings or watches. "Life-threatening storm surge and rainfall expected".

Duke Energy warned that Florence could cut off power to anywhere from 1 million to 3 million customers in North and SC, potentially leaving them without electricity for several weeks, said spokeswoman Grace Rountree.

The impact of storm surge on the coast will depend on whether the storm's arrival coincides with high tide. Workers are being brought in from the Midwest and Florida to help in the storm's aftermath, it said.

For people who stayed behind near the coast, or find themselves facing the brunt of the storm, officials are offering safety advice. Tropical Storm Olivia made a double landfall in Hawaii Wednesday morning, first in west Maui then Lanai, KHNL reports.

Downpours and flooding would be especially severe, lasting for days, if the storm stalls over land. North Carolina alone could get from 20 to 30 inches, with isolated spots possibly receiving 40 inches.

Hurricane Helene is moving north, where it's expected to become a tropical storm Thursday.

Fox News meteorologist Rick Reichmuth said "copious amounts of rainfall" are expected from Florence, and aired a weather map showing a tornado watch affecting areas from Manteo in the Outer Banks southwestward toward Burgaw, several miles inland from Wilmington. I believe that was a Category 1 storm when it hit Charlotte. That system could develop into a tropical depression by Friday.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

Discuss This Article