Published: Sat, September 15, 2018
Research | By Jody Lindsey

Dont play games with it: Storm takes aim at Carolinas

Dont play games with it: Storm takes aim at Carolinas

Florence is about 644 kilometres wide and it's winds have dropped from a peak of 225 km/h to 165 km/h, reducing the hurricane from a terrifying Category 4 to a Category 2.

Up to 1.7 million people in North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia have been given voluntary or mandatory evacuation orders, according to emergency management officials, as the storm churned across the Atlantic Ocean towards the coast.

A mother and her baby died when a tree fell on their home in Wilmington, North Carolina. A fourth victim was killed in Lenoir County while plugging in a generator, according to the governor's office. Forecasters said Florence could become an extremely unsafe major hurricane sometime Monday and remain that way for days.

The storm is now classified as a "major hurricane", meaning wind speeds are greater than 110 miles per hour.

Florence is the most unsafe of three tropical systems in the Atlantic.

The storm is now expected to make landfall in the lower Outer Banks of North Carolina early Friday morning or possibly stay in the ocean before making a shift to the left toward SC.

Kevin Miller, a 50-year-old electrician, said he planned to ride out the storm at his home near Charleston.

While many coastal residents heeded mandatory evacuation orders, others boarded up homes and businesses and chose to courageous the storm, which is forecast to trigger severe flash flooding as it dumps as many as three feet (almost a meter) of rain in some areas. So, they're pumping the liquid out of the lagoons and spraying them as fertilizer on fields, which gives the lagoons more capacity to hold rainwater, NPR reported.

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Maysie Baumgardner, 7, sheltered with her family at the Hotel Ballast in downtown Wilmington as Florence's floodwaters filled the streets.

But his partner, Emily Whisler, said she will stay at the university where she is a resident in the psychiatry program.

At this height of the Atlantic hurricane season, Florence was being trailed on east-to-west paths by two other storms, Hurricane Helene and Tropical Storm Isaac, but neither packs the deadly punch of Florence.

The National Weather Service said 5.25 million people live in areas under hurricane warnings or watches, and 4.9 million live in places covered by tropical storm warnings or watches.

The National Hurricane Center said Wednesday the massive waves were produced by being trapped along with very strong winds moving in the same direction of the storm's motion.

Authorities in New Bern, a town of about 30,000 people that dates to the early 18th century, said more than 100 people had to be rescued from floods. "These are folks who are maybe in one-story buildings and they're seeing the floodwaters rise". "The water level will get a little high but we'll be fine".

The White House said on Friday President Donald Trump had spoken with state and local officials, assuring them the federal government was prepared to help. "Now it might be time for the exam", Baxley said late in the morning. "I've never seen tree devastation this bad". Utility companies said millions were expected to lose power and restoration could take weeks.

And while the 2,000-plus cancellations from Florence is significant, it's far below what fliers have faced in other major storms.

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