Monday, 19 November, 2018

USA 'brute' of a storm turns deadly

Graphic of hurricane track Key warnings published by the NHC at 5 a.m. EDT on Friday Sept. 14 2018
Cary Marshall | 16 September, 2018, 19:12

Florence flattened trees, crumbled roads and knocked out power to more than 700,000 homes and businesses, and the assault wasn't anywhere near an end.

Rains and surging seas have already inundated coastal areas. More than 60 others had to be rescued as a cinderblock motel collapsed. The storm is expected to lumber into far southeastern North Carolina and eastern SC through Saturday, punishing the area with rain and damaging winds.

"Florence is an uninvited brute who doesn't want to leave", North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper told NPR's Morning Edition.

The state's transportation secretary, James Trogdon, said the state may see "flood events" that normally only occur once every 1,000 years.

Hurricane Florence has barrelled into the Carolina coast and moved inland, knocking down trees, overflowing rivers, dumping sheets of rain and leading to the death of five people before it was downgraded to a tropical storm still capable of wreaking havoc.

In the Philippines, evacuations were under way with Super Typhoon Mangkhut expected to hit on Saturday in an area impacting an estimated 5.2 million people.

Florence is now a tropical storm sitting over the Carolina coasts and moving slowly inland and south, causing life-threatening storm surges and potentially "catastrophic freshwater flooding" according to the National Weather Service. The large size of the tree made it hard, Wilmington Fire Department Chief Jon Mason said during a Friday afternoon press conference.

Meteorologist Ryan Maue of weathermodels.com said Florence could dump a staggering 18 trillion gallons of rain over a week on North Carolina, South Carolinas, Virginia, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky and Maryland.

Hurricane Harvey previous year dumped some 33 trillion gallons of rainwater in the US. Hundreds of thousands of customers had already lost power east of Charlotte.

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Officials have warned restoring electricity could take days or even weeks.

Storm surges of up to six feet were forecast for Belhaven, North Carolina, where this video was recorded on the night of September 13.

Emergency workers arrived to find the Triangle Motor Inn's structure crumbling, with many guests still in their rooms.

North Carolina Emergency Management warned residents on Friday to stay indoors, avoid stagnant or moving flood waters and have their emergency kits ready.

At least 200 householders in the riverfront city had to be plucked to safety by authorities.

Local resident Peggy Perry told CNN she was "stuck in the attic" along with three relatives.

"I saw two 20-foot sections getting busted up because the winds are so strong and powerful", she added. President Donald Trump declared a state of emergency on the federal level Tuesday for the Carolinas and Virginia.

How long will this last?

As the climate warms, the way air moves through the atmosphere can become disrupted, possibly blocking these types of storms in place more often.

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