Thursday, 13 December, 2018

'Historic storm' lashes Carolinas with heavy rain, floods

Heavy surf crashes the dunes at high tide in Nags Head N.C. on Sept. 13 as Hurricane Florence approaches the coast Heavy surf crashes the dunes at high tide in Nags Head N.C. on Sept. 13 as Hurricane Florence approaches the coast
Jeannette Daniel | 15 September, 2018, 16:29

More than 10 feet of storm surge is expected to hit some areas in North Carolina and SC, triggered by Florence.

Hurricane Florence brought a storm surge of some 3 meters (10 feet) as it began battering the U.S. east coast early on Friday.

The National Hurricane Center said late Thursday that Florence has brought a life-threatening storm surge and hurricane-force winds to the North Carolina Coast.

Florence's winds weakened as it drew closer to land, dropping from a peak of 140 miles per hour earlier in the week, and the hurricane was downgraded from a Category 4 to a Category 2.

"The worst of the storm is not yet here but these are early warnings of the days to come", he said. "So if you're on the beach the time to go is now".

"[We're] letting people know if they do choose to stay and the weather deteriorates, it's going to limit our [emergency] response", she said. Hurricane-force winds extended 130 kilometres from its centre, and tropical-storm-force winds up to 315 kilometres.

As of the 7:45 a.m. update from the National Hurricane Center, the storm's center made landfall near Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina.

"If we lose the house, oh well, we can get housing".

-Intensity: Florence came ashore with top winds of 90 miles per hour (145 kph), below the 111 miles per hour (178 kph) threshold for a "major" hurricane but still extremely risky.

But that, combined with the storm's slowing forward movement and heavy rains, had North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper warning of an impending disaster.

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Some areas in the Myrtle Beach/Wilmington area could see as much as 40 inches of rain with storm surges between 9 and 13 feet, overwhelming many beachfront areas and low-lying islands. According to Fire Chief Glen Rogers, there are in fact only 12 people left on the beach to sit out the storm.

In Norfolk, Virginia, police were alerted to people dressed in fluorescent vests going door to door and telling residents that they had to leave their homes and businesses, The Associated Press reported Thursday.

The high winds will likely snap or uproot numerous trees.

Thursday afternoon, President Donald Trump tweeted that he had just been briefed on the storm and "FEMA, First Responders and Law Enforcement are supplied and ready".

Residents are still recovering from Hurricane Matthew and communities with financial struggles are slow to rebuild after a major disaster.

Utility companies are predicting power outages that could reach between one-to-three million across both North and SC for days and possibly weeks.

"This is a very unsafe storm", Long said.

Schools and businesses closed as far south as Georgia, airlines canceled more than 1,500 flights, and coastal towns in the Carolinas were largely emptied out.

"I'm not anxious at all", said Richard Ford, 34, smoking a cigarette outside one of Wilmington's five shelters.

A buoy off the North Carolina coast recorded waves almost 30 feet high as Florence churned toward shore. They then did the forecast again using conditions that would have been expected in a climate unchanged by human activity, meaning greenhouse gases, aerosols and other atmospheric metrics were all set to "pre-industrial levels", or those found more than 150 years ago.

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