Hurricane Florence crawling toward the Carolinas, coastal water levels rising

Cesar Mills
September 14, 2018

But the NHC also said tropical storm-force winds extended outward up to 195 miles (315 km) from its center, leaving a swathe of the USA eastern seaboard vulnerable, much of it low-lying and stretching from Georgia north through the Carolinas into Virginia.

Hurricane Florence is closing in on the Carolinas Thursday morning as more than 10 million people brace for the worst.

"The satellite presentation of Florence has changed little overnight with the eye waxing and waning in infrared imagery", according to the NHC's discussion of the hurricane.

"Life-threatening storm surge, heavy rainfall, and damaging wind will cover a large area regardless of exactly where the center of Florence moves", Hurricane Center forecasters said. What also makes this hurricane extremely risky are the deadly storm surges, mammoth coastal flooding and historic rainfall expected far inland.

Hurricane conditions will likely hit the Carolina coast on Thursday night or early Friday.

As of 5 a.m. EDT it was centered about 205 miles (325 kilometers) east-southeast of Wilmington, North Carolina, and about 250 miles (450 kilometers) east-southeast of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, moving northwest at 15 mph (24 kph). It has slowed down — and will continue to do so — moving to the northwest at 5 miles per hour.

The Category 1 storm has maximum sustained winds of 90 miles per hour and is moving slowly, at 6 miles per hour.

Hurricane Florence has been downgraded to a Category 2 storm but it is still being classed as extremely risky and life-threatening storm. Parts of North Carolina may see as much as 40 inches of rain and storm surges could be as high as 13 feet.

"This is no ordinary storm, and people could be without power for a very long time - not days but weeks", a president of one energy company in North Carolina said on Wednesday.

On Friday, the storm's center will hug the coast of southeast North Carolina, where the most severe effects are expected.

Along the North and SC coasts, many have evacuated from their homes, but some are scrambling to finish last-minute preparations as time is running out to evacuate safely.

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Hurricane Florence is shaping up to be a awful storm, and it does not look any better when you look at it from space. One woman whose parents were killed told the Chicago Tribune they decided against evacuating their "forever home".

For those in an evacuation area, "there is still time to get out", Cooper said Thursday. FEMA, First Responders and Law Enforcement are supplied and ready. "I know it's hard to move, and I know that you are leaving things behind that you don't want to leave behind, but no possession is worth your life".

Will Epperson, a 36-year-old golf course assistant superintendent, said he and his wife had planned to ride out the storm at their home in Hampstead, North Carolina, but then reconsidered.

But not everyone has packed their bags.

"The time to prepare is nearly over", North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper told a morning news conference. "Play in the water, enjoy the sunshine".

All four major U.S. airlines have said they are capping selected airfares below what last-minute tickets would cost.

She continued: "Of course we're anxious". But we're watching the news every day.

A disastrous amount of rain will exacerbate the storm surge. And if we feel the need to leave we'll go.

Sand bags surround homes on North Topsail Beach, N.C., September 12, 2018, as Hurricane Florence threatens the coast.

By 5 a.m. today, the storm was about 205 miles east/southeast of Wilmington, N.C. with 110-mph maximum sustained winds. Downed power lines have also been reported in the area.

In Awendaw, South Carolina, Chris Johnson said he's staying behind to watch his house while his wife, Michele, is evacuating.

"It's going to coming roaring up to the coast Thursday night and say 'I'm not sure I really want to do this and I'll just take a tour of the coast and decide where I want to go inland, '" said Jeff Masters, who is the meteorology director of the private Weather Underground website, AP reported. "It's probably good for our marriage". I think it's a great compromise.

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