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

Nearly 160,000 without power as Hurricane Florence lashes North Carolina coast

The centre of Florence is expected to hit North Carolina's southern coast about midnight on Friday (local time), then drift southwest before moving inland on Saturday, enough time to drop as much 1 metre of rain in places, according to the National Hurricane Center.

Life-threatening storm surges of up to 13 feet have been forecast in some areas when the monster storm eventually makes landfall in North and SC.

The storm will churn very slowly Friday and Saturday, extending the damaging winds and huge amounts of rain that will hit the same areas of North and SC for 24 hours.

With Hurricane Florence downgraded on Thursday from a Category Four to a Category Two storm, around fifty people left the evacuation shelter in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. He compares Hurricane Florence with Hurricane Isabel, which hit the Virginia and North Carolina area at a similar strength in 2003, leaving about a million people without power and Hatteras Island battered.

By Sunday, with Florence expected to be a tropical depression centered over inland SC, chances for showers in Maryland are expected to lessen.

Florence's winds weakened as it drew closer to land, dropping from a peak of 225 kph earlier in the week, and the hurricane was downgraded from a terrifying Category 4 to a 2.

"I'm not going to put our personnel in harm's way", said Dan House.

The National Hurricane Centre said it was expected to keep drawing energy from the warm water and intensify to near Category 5, which means winds of 157 miles per hour or higher.

"Whether you have a house or not, when the storm comes it will bring everyone together". Roy Cooper urged residents in evacuation areas of his state to get out while they still can.

"We're on the wrong side of this thing".

'Monster' storm Florence: What you need to know
The storm's forward motion has slowed 11km/h since Wednesday (local time), which was predicted as the storm nears the coast. Vanotteren and his friend Bailey Gaddis said the waves have gotten bigger and better every evening as the storm approaches.

Florence is now a strong Category 2 storm. "The combination of a risky storm surge and the tide will cause normally dry areas near the coast to be flooded by rising waters moving inland from the shoreline".

Businesses in Wrightsville Beach, N.C., prepare for Hurricane Florence on Wednesday.

Fierce winds and massive waves are expected to lash the coasts of North and SC and Virginia even before Florence makes landfall by early Friday, bringing a storm surge as much as 13 feet (4 meters). Nearly 160,000 customers already were without power in North Carolina Thursday evening - and that number is likely to rise.

Duke Energy, a power company in the Carolinas, estimated that one million to three million customers could lose electricity because of the storm and that it could take weeks to restore.

More than 80,000 people are already without power, and forecasters have warned that conditions will only get more lethal as the storm pushes ashore in the early hours of Friday morning.

- Hurricane Florence remains a Category 2 storm as it makes its approaches to the Carolinas.

"Against my better judgment, due to emotionalism, I evacuated", said Fisher, 74.

"Even the rescuers can not stay there", he said.

Officials in several states have declared states of emergency, including in the Carolinas, Georgia, Virginia and Maryland, where coastal areas are still recovering from summer storms.

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