Published: Fri, September 14, 2018
Research | By Jody Lindsey

Hurricane Florence Brings Life-Threatening Storm Surge To The Carolinas

Hurricane Florence Brings Life-Threatening Storm Surge To The Carolinas

The latest rainfall projections warn of 20 to 40 inches of rain from coastal North Carolina into northeastern SC - amounts that could bring "catastrophic flash flooding", the hurricane center said.

Its surge could cover all but a sliver of the Carolina coast under as much as 3.4 metres of ocean water, and days of downpours could unload more than 900mm of rain, triggering severe flooding.

But North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper warned: "Don't relax, don't get complacent. Today the threat becomes a reality". Numerous flight cancellations and delays Thursday involved arrivals or departures at airports in Florence's path. After criticism for its response in Puerto Rico to last year's Hurricane Maria, which officials there said was responsible for 3,000 deaths, Trump has vowed a vigorous response to Florence and defended his handling of Maria.

One resident, 67-year-old Linda Smith, told the MailOnline: "We're a little anxious about the storm surge so we came down to see what the river is doing now".

General O'Shaughnessy said there were about 7,000 USA military personnel now in place and ready to respond to the storm, along with ships, helicopters, high-wheeled vehicles and other equipment.

Speaking on Fox News, the reporter warned conditions could continue for at least 12 hours as the storm moves inland.

Most of the damage during Hurricane Matthew in 2016 in North Carolina came from inland flooding - 31 people died and almost 100,000 homes were destroyed.

Cheryl Browning lives with her husband and son, who has terminal cancer, in Richlands, North Carolina. It is expected start affecting North Carolina and SC as early as September 13.

Not everyone was taking Florence too seriously: About two dozen locals gathered Thursday night behind the boarded-up windows of The Barbary Coast bar as Florence blew into Wilmington.

At the 500-acre North Carolina Zoo in Asheboro, workers shepherded a menagerie including elephants, giraffes and chimpanzees indoors, forming a sort of modern-day, stationary Noah's Ark to ride out the flood.

More than 20,000 on NC coast already without power from Florence gusts
Myrtle Beach, a SC beach resort, was virtually deserted with empty streets, boarded up storefronts and very little traffic. The Carolinas will bear the brunt of the storm , but as it moves inland, Virginia, Georgia, and Maryland will also be hit.

Zookeepers and veterinarians resolved to hunker down with the creatures and see them through the storm.

But many other animals will be kept in barns.

Horton pleaded for volunteers to take in their animals for the duration of the storm, a common, plaintive refrain at other shelters across the area.

He denied distraction at the top of a briefing where officials schooled Americans on what bare necessities they should bring to shelters, where and how to evacuate, and what disabled citizens should do to prepare.

More than 1,200 US airline flights scheduled for Thursday and Friday have been canceled, according to the flight-tracking service FlightAware.

Florence is becoming more of a threat to more people - now including some in Georgia - in more ways. It is strong but not overwhelming but it is how long it is going to last. "They need to shelter in place".

The police chief of a barrier island in Florence's bulls'-eye said he was asking for next-of-kin contact information from the few residents who refused to leave.

"I built this house myself, so I'm not anxious at all, I know it's solid", he said. "Especially for people that we've already told to evacuate".

Near the beach in Wilmington, a Waffle House restaurant, part of a chain with a reputation for staying open during disasters, had no plans to close, even if power was lost, and there were lines to get in on Thursday evening.

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