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

Wind approaches outer banks of North Carolina

The wide storm has weakened to a Category 2 hurricane and forecasters expect top winds to drop more as it nears the shore, but they're sharing a giant dose of uncertainty. "We can not underestimate this storm".

The centre of Florence is expected to hit North Carolina's southern coast Friday, then drift southwest before moving inland on Saturday. Its surge could cover all but a sliver of the Carolina coast under as much as 11 feet (3.4 meters) of ocean water, and days of downpours could unload more than 3 feet (0.9 meters) of rain, touching off severe flooding.

Overcrowded animal shelters in some North Carolina districts were facing a more grim prospect: euthanizing animals that can't be shipped to safety.

Forecasters said that given the storm's size and sluggish track, it could cause epic damage akin to what the Houston area saw during Hurricane Harvey just over a year ago, with floodwaters swamping homes and businesses and washing over industrial waste sites and hog-manure ponds.

To put the rain in perspective, Wilmington's three-day rainfall record was 19.66 inches set in 2010, said Jordan Baker, a meteorologist with the NWS Wilmington office.

Hurricane #Florence is here.

Hurricane-force winds began whipping North Carolina as federal emergency management officials warned that the hurricane remained a "very risky storm" capable of wreaking havoc along a wide swathe of the coast.

"Don't relax, don't get complacent".

"Just because the wind speed came down, the intensity of this storm came down to a Cat 2, please do not let your guard down", said Brock Long, the administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). "Today the threat becomes a reality", he said.

DEVASTATION: Marine One carrying US President Bill Clinton along with North Carolina Governor James Hunt 20 September, 1999, survey the flood damage over Tarboro, North Carolina, which was damaged by high winds and rain from Hurricane Floyd.

Holly Waters, 54, a retired special education teacher from Wilmington, said she was happy to have a place to go to relax before the storm worsened. "Battering winds and relentless rain that'll last for days". "We have two boats and all our worldly possessions", said Susan Patchkofsky, who refused her familys pleas to evacuate and stayed at Emerald Isle with her husband.

A tornado watch was also in effect for parts of North Carolina.

Hurricane Florence's Path Remains Uncertain As Storm Closes In On Carolinas
Hurricane, tropical-storm and storm-surge watches and warnings now cover 10 million people from North and SC to Virginia. Florence is forecast to dump up to 40 inches (one meter) of rain in some areas after it makes landfall in North and SC .

Storm surge predictions in the Myrtle Beach area are between four and six feet.

Even the thousands of emergency workers on scene - ranging from power workers to National Guardsmen to cops, many of them volunteers from across the country - could only sit and wait for Florence to do its worst before they could do their best.

But many other animals will be kept in barns.

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

The zoo planned to be closed through Friday. Its forward movement slowed to 10 miles per hour (17 kph) and top sustained winds dropped slightly to 105 miles per hour (165 kph).

The National looks at the science behind Hurricane Florence and why it's being called a once-in-a-generation storm.

Live from New Bern, #NorthCarolina a very #flooded scene there.

With winds picking up along the coastline early Thursday, federal and state officials had issued final appeals to residents to get out of the path of the "once in a lifetime" weather system. Steve Goldstein with NOAA said the Pamlico Sound and the Pamlico and Neuse rivers were particular areas of concern.

Using computer graphics The Weather Channel showed how far inland Hurricane Florence's surge can reach, following low-lying streams. The number is expected to rise, the flight-tracking service said. The company said as many as three-fourths of its 4 million customers in North Carolina and SC could lose power. "And you dont need power to sling booze", said owner Eli Ellsworth. The more the Great Lakes one wins, the more southerly Florence will be.

The storm is expected to affect airports in Georgia and Virginia.

Frustrated after evacuating his beach home for a storm that has since been downgraded, retired nurse Frederick Fisher grumbled in the lobby of a hotel in Wilmington several miles inland.

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

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