Published: Fri, September 14, 2018
Entertaiment | By Mabel Barber

Florence by the numbers: Strongest wind gust in 60 years hits Wilmington

Florence by the numbers: Strongest wind gust in 60 years hits Wilmington

Hurricane Florence has been downgraded from its monster peak as a Category 5 hurricane, but authorities have warned against complacency, urging residents that the hurricane still has the potential to cause massive destruction. "Catastrophic effects will be felt".

The centre of Florence is expected to hit North Carolina's southern coast on Friday, then drift southwest before moving inland on Saturday, enough time to drop as much as one metre of rain in some places, according to the National Hurricane Center. Despite its unpredictable path, it was forecast to make landfall near Cape Fear, North Carolina, at midday on Friday.

Hurricane Florence has weakened slightly to a Category 2 storm, but don't be fooled, it's still incredibly risky.

The center said the threat of freshwater flooding will increase over the next several days.

There is around 156,068 people that have lost power and police have suspended their services in Morehead City and other coastal cities, warning any residents who remain in the evacuation zone that they will be without emergency services until the storm passes.

In its 0300 GMT advisory, the National Hurricane Center said the maximum sustained winds of Florence were 90 miles per hour (150 kilometers per hour), dropping it to the weakest of five categories on the Saffir-Simpson scale.

It is the storm's movement and not its strength that has forecasters and officials anxious.

Forecasters said "catastrophic" freshwater flooding was expected along waterways far from the coast of the Carolinas.

Cooper also announced there are 2,800 National Guard troops in different staging areas of North Carolina.

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With the hurricane beginning to batter North Carolina, the state's Governor has asked US President Donald Trump for another federal disaster declaration beyond what he declared earlier this week. Millions of people are expected to lose power and it could take weeks to resolve the outages.

Cooper said 108 shelters are open across the state, with more than 7,000 people already staying at them, as of Thursday afternoon.

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. Heavy rains were forecast to extend into the Appalachian mountains, affecting parts of Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky and West Virginia. Two amphibious Navy ships are on standby to respond and provide disaster relief after Florence moves through.

Rescue helicopters and trucks that can navigate floodwaters are also standing by.

Officials say anyone who has not heeded mandatory evacuation orders is on his own. NASA via AP In this September 12, 2018 photo provided by NASA, Hurricane Florence churns over the Atlantic Ocean heading for the USA east coast as seen from the International Space Station. "We just want prayers from everyone".

The police chief of Wrightsville Beach suggested that those who made a decision to stay give him their next-of-kin contact information.

"The vast majority of the time the horses know what to do, and they are able to get to higher ground or protect themselves", said Gillikin. "We're fully prepared. Food, medical, everything you can imagine, we are ready".

"A slow motion over eastern SC is forecast Friday night through Saturday night". But residents inland are warned to expect life-threatening floods and should plan to be without power for days.

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