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

More than 20,000 on NC coast already without power from Florence gusts


Tens of thousands were without power.

The coastal area of SC features hundreds of inlets while North Carolina has barrier islands miles away from the mainland. Heavy rainfall began after dark.

"This large-scale feature is expected to keep the hurricane moving northwestward today, followed by a turn toward the west at a much slower speed on Friday as the ridge to the north of Florence weakens due to a weak shortwave trough dropping slowly southward from the Ohio Valley".

The Carolinas will bear the brunt of the storm, but as it moves inland, Virginia, Georgia, and Maryland will also be hit.

It was set to inundate nearly all of North Carolina in several feet of water, State Governor Roy Cooper told a news conference, while National Weather Service forecaster Brandon Locklear predicted up to eight months of rain in two or three days.

Florence was downgraded to a Category 1 storm on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale on Thursday evening and was located about 50 miles (80 kilometers) southwest of Morehead City, North Carolina with maximum sustained winds of 90 miles per hour (150 km/h).

Waves from Hurricane Florence pound the Bogue Inlet Pier in Emerald Isle, N.C., September 13, 2018. Tropical Storm Olivia has made landfall in the Hawaiian islands, the Philippines are bracing for the powerful typhoon Mangkhut, and Tropical Storm Isaac is nearing the Leeward Islands.

Myrtle Beach, a SC beach resort, was virtually deserted with empty streets, boarded up storefronts and very little traffic.

There are fears that this storm could cause damage similar to what Houston suffered during Hurricane Harvey past year, when homes and businesses were inundated with floodwater.

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Two detention facilities in SC that are within government-mandated evacuation zones will not relocate inmates ahead of Hurricane Florence's landfall there.

Ken Graham, NHC director, said on Facebook the storm surges could push in as far as two miles. Weather forecasts estimate that the Category 2 storm could dump 17 trillion gallons of rain on the East Coast.

Trump faced severe criticism for his administration's response to Hurricane Maria a year ago in Puerto Rico. Some 3,000 people died in the aftermath of that storm.

Hurricane Florence's outer edges have started to batter the coast of North Carolina - with winds of 100mph bending trees and shooting frothy seawater onto the streets. Some of the few people still left in Nags Head on the Outer Banks took photos of angry waves topped with white froth. "Because it's Mother Nature".

Some areas could receive as much as 40 inches (one meter) of rain, forecasters said. That's enough water to fill the Empire State Building almost 40,000 times.

Yesterday, Dr Greg Postel, the network's hurricane specialist, said three feet (0.9m) of water was enough to knock people off their feet, potentially carry cars away and flood lower levels of buildings.

"If you find yourself here [in rising floodwaters], you need to get out", she said. "Whether you have a house or not, when the storm comes it will bring everyone together. A storm can come and wipe your house out overnight".

Utility companies said millions were expected to lose power and restoration could take weeks. But previous research has shown that the strongest hurricanes are getting wetter, more intense and intensifying faster because of human-caused climate change. He said that the hurricane could only be captured on a super-wide lens, even from 400 kilometres up.

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