Hurricane Florence lashes USA east coast, triggers flood warnings

Mindy Sparks
September 14, 2018

Florence arrived at the Carolina coast as a Category 1 storm - its 90 miles per hour sustained winds far below the fearsome 150 miles per hour that it packed just days ago.

"It truly is really about the whole size of this storm", said National Hurricane Center Director Kenneth Graham.

The Hurricane Center's Dennis Feltgen reiterated that warning, saying 90 percent of hurricane-related deaths are from problems that arise with the massive amounts of water.

Folks in Charleston, South Carolina, who have chosen not to evacuate, are preparing for a nasty storm that could make landfall right in their backyard.

But forecasters warned that the widening storm - and its likelihood of lingering around the coast for days - will bring life-threatening storm surge and torrential rains. "Given the rarity of the magnitude of #Florence's storm surge forecast, it can be hard to grasp what that might look like or the impacts it could have on your community", the NHC said. Categories only represent the speed of sustained winds, and these are still destructive.

Although the storm has weakened to a Category 2, it's still expected to bring some bad weather to the area this weekend.

North Carolina is the largest tobacco grower and ranks second among U.S. states in hog inventory and producing broiler chickens. Hurricane Florence will slow down as it approaches the coast and moves inland. It could then head west and southwest. The top wind gusts were reported in Raleigh are at 39 miles per hour. Isolated areas could get 40 inches.

The impact is expected to be similar to that of Hurricane Harvey on the Houston area previous year, Feltgen said.

Gov. Roy Cooper requested additional federal disaster assistance in anticipation of what his office called "historic major damage" across the state.

North Carolina corrections officials said more than 3,000 people were relocated from adult prisons and juvenile centres in the path of Florence, and more than 300 county prisoners were transferred to state facilities.

The powerful storm inundated coastal streets and left tens of thousands without power.

According to the NHC's forecast discussion at 12 p.m. on September 13: "The subtropical ridge to the northeast and east of Florence is now well-established between Bermuda and the USA mid-Atlantic region and extends westward into Virginia and the central Appalachians. So if you're on the beach the time to go is now".

The county had been conducting water rescues since Thursday, Parker said. "So far, the power is on - Waffle House is open". Although the rain totals won't be very high, those living in flood zones have been encouraged to evacuate.

Spokeswoman Diane Villa said some of the larger animals - including bison and elk - will be put in fenced-in yards instead of barns because they do not like being in fully enclosed spaces. "They have boarded up a couple of windows".

"I have no generator", said Petra Langston, a nurse.

In New Bern, North Carolina - where forecasters say the Neuse River could experience 11 feet of storm surge, more than 150 people were reported to be trapped late on Thursday.

The Pentagon has dispatched two ships and a Marine unit offshore to provide help if needed.

Get live views from web cams along the coast.

The Atlantic seaboard got some good news as Hurricane Florence slowed to a Category-1 hurricane as it finally made landfall this morning.

Operations at the ports of Wilmington, Charleston, South Carolina, and Norfolk in Virginia, which together handled 23 per cent of East Coast imports in 2017, have been disrupted by the storm.

High winds and downed power lines are another concern for that region.

"Inland flooding kills a lot of people unfortunately and that's what we're about to see".

"This threat will continue into next week", said Jeff Stern, Virginia's state coordinator of emergency management, during a Thursday evening news conference.

About 400 Virginians are in shelters, Stern estimated.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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