Hurricane Florence Approaches US East Coast

Pauline Gross
September 15, 2018

The Wilmington Police Department said the two were killed when a tree fell on their house.

The National Hurricane Centre warned there would be "catastrophic" fresh water flooding over a wide area of the Carolinas. North Carolina corrections officials said more than 3,000 people were relocated from adult prisons and juvenile centres in the path of Florence, and more than 300 county prisoners were transferred to state facilities.

The hurricane has torn buildings apart and knocked out power to more than 600,000 homes and businesses.

"For a meandering storm, the biggest concern - as we saw with Harvey - is the huge amount rainfall", said Chris Landsea, chief of tropical analysis and forecast branch at the National Hurricane Center.

The flooding soon spread into SC, swamping places like North Myrtle Beach, in a resort area known for its white sands and multitude of golf courses. With the storm churning 140 miles per hour winds, hurricane watches and warnings include the homes of more than 5.4 million people on the East Coast, many of whom have been advised to evacuate.

The National Hurricane Center or NHC said on September 14, "Life-threatening storm surges and hurricane-force winds continue and catastrophic freshwater flooding expected over portions of North and SC".

Farmers have learned lessons from past storms - most recently the devastating flooding of 2016's Hurricane Matthew, but this storm will rip through the state during what is normally harvest season.

"The time to prepare is nearly over", North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper told a morning news conference.

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Boarding up his home in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina , Chris Pennington watched the forecasts and tried to decide when to leave. President Donald Trump both touted the government's readiness and urged people to get out of the way. "Dont play games with it.

Meteorologist Ryan Maue of weathermodels.com said Florence could dump a staggering 18 trillion gallons (68 trillion liters) of rain over a week on North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky and Maryland. Surges could reach 9' to 13' on the southeast North Carolina coast between Cape Fear and Cape Lookout, including the Pamlico and Albemarle sounds and their rivers, and 6' to 9' on the adjacent stretches of coast.

In New Bern, population 29,000, flooding on the Neuse River left 500 people in peril.

Employees at New Bern's WCTI-TV NewsChannel 12 had to abandon their studio for the "first time in history", the station posted Thursday night on Facebook.

The Miami-based center says the center of the eye moved ashore with top sustained winds of 90 miles per hour, making Florence a Category 1 hurricane in terms of wind intensity. Some weakening could occur as Florence moves across cooler waters and draws upwelling on the shallow continental shelf, but that will not lessen the storm's danger, NHC forecasters said.

Wind speeds are kicking up far from the coast in central SC as Hurricane Florence slowly makes its way along the coast.

Chip Somodevilla/Getty ImagesA volunteer worker rescues a child and her family during Hurricane Florence.

"WE ARE COMING TO GET YOU", New Bern city officials said on Twitter.

"These are folks who made a decision to stay and ride out the storm for whatever reason, despite having a mandatory evacuation", she said.

Other reports by GizPress

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