Florence weakens but could linger for longer

Pauline Gross
September 14, 2018

It was located 85 miles from Wilmington at 8 p.m. Thursday and its eye was expected to make landfall Friday, the advisory said.

- Though the storm, once a Category 4, was downgraded Thursday night to a Category 1 from a Category 2, the danger is very real.

Preceded first by the storm surge and the winds, heavy rains were picking up as of late Thursday afternoon, the beginning of an onslaught that for some areas may not relent for days.

Florence, set to make landfall on Friday, was expected to cover nearly all of North Carolina in several feet of water, State Governor Roy Cooper told reporters. On Thursday evening it was packing peak winds of 90 miles per hour (150 km/h).

"Today was my day to come home, I'm so glad it wasn't Friday 'cause I don't know if I'd have gotten out of town", said Beverly Stasko. "We just need to figure out how to make it through".

As Florence churned slowly towards the coasts of North and SC as a Category 2 hurricane, federal and state officials issued final appeals to residents to get out of the path of the "once in a lifetime" weather system.

Even if you know nothing about hurricanes, an unavoidable sense of doom and destruction overtakes you when you look at this image of Hurricane Florence as it moves inexorably toward North and SC. Millions of people are expected to lose power and it could take weeks to resolve the outages.

The Miami-based center says Florence is bringing "catastrophic" fresh water flooding over a wide area of the Carolinas.

Weather Underground meteorology director Jeff Masters said Florence eventually could strike as a Category 1 with winds less than 100 miles per hour, but that's still enough to cause at least $1 billion in damage.

However, it's possible that Florence will stay just offshore, dumping rain on North Carolina as she moves south, not moving inland until she reaches Myrtle Beach.

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Utility providers, meanwhile, told customers in the Carolinas and beyond to expect prolonged power losses once the storm hits. Tropical Storm Olivia made a double landfall in Hawaii Wednesday morning, first in west Maui then Lanai, KHNL reports .

Florence’s lower category doesn’t take rainfall into account
Next week, when Florence has finally passed the Carolinas and moved into the Ohio Valley, the rain will have been the big story. Forecasters said early Thursday that the storm's outer rain bands are approaching the North Carolina coast.

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The Category 3 hurricane with winds of 115 mph is expected to produce 20 to 30 inches of rain in the coast North Carolina area, and 5 to 10 inches in western SC and northern North Carolina, per the National Weather Service.

At least 12,000 people had taken refuge in 126 emergency shelters, Governor Cooper said, with more facilities being opened.

Anadolu Agency via Getty Images A vehicle goes through a flooded street during the heavy rain of outer bands of Hurricane Florence in New Bern, North Carolina, United States on September 13, 2018.

Life-threatening storm surge is being reported along the coast of the Carolinas.

What's the difference between a hurricane, typhoon, tornado and tropical storm?

A state of emergency has been declared in five coastal states - North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Maryland and Virginia.

Despite pleas from state and local officials, some residents rejected calls to evacuate. It had long lines on Thursday. "I'm going to get killed on the road, '" Bradley said.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's prediction, all of coastal North Carolina is at "high" risk of flash flooding, with "moderate" risk, even 30-50 miles inland.

Antonio Ramirez, a construction worker from El Salvador living in Leland, North Carolina, said he planned to ride out the worst of the weather with his dog Canelo.

Other reports by GizPress

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