Hurricane Florence unleashes fury in Carolinas with life-threatening storm surge

Cesar Mills
September 16, 2018

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"On the forecast track, the center of Florence will approach the coasts of North and SC later tonight, then move near or over the coast of southern North Carolina and northeastern SC in the hurricane warning area on Friday", a recent NHC update said.

Hurricane-force winds began whipping North Carolina as federal emergency management officials warned that the hurricane remained a "very unsafe storm" capable of wreaking havoc along a wide swathe of the coast.

Speaking on Thursday, North Carolina's governor, Roy Cooper, said: "We can not underestimate this storm".

"Catastrophic effects will be felt outside the centre of the storm".

According to meteorologists, Florence could be quite deadly-and with climate change making hurricanes more common and more catastrophic, there are going to be a lot more storms like Florence.

"Just because the wind speed came down, the intensity of this storm came down to a Cat 2, please do not let your guard down", said Brock Long, the administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), speaking earlier Thursday.

Much of the North Carolina Outer Banks and mainland areas adjacent to Pamlico Sound, Albemarle Sound and Onslow Bay, North Carolina, will be especially hit hard by storm surge, high winds and torrential rain.

In Jacksonville, North Carolina, next to Camp Lejeune, firefighters and police fought wind and rain as they went door-to-door to pull dozens of people out of the Triangle Motor Inn after the structure began to crumble and the roof started to collapse.

Farther south, in Carolina Beach, the northern end of the town was being swamped as water crashed over the dunes.

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.

That was a bad idea, said Avair Vereen, a local nurse who had sought safety in the shelter with her seven children.

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The American government is ready to deal with the aftermath of the hurricane but people should get out of the way, Trump said. Rain is forecast to continue through the weekend, bringing risky flooding conditions to many areas of North Carolina.

"We live in a mobile home so we were just like 'No way, '" she said. "Whether you have a house or not, when the storm comes it will bring everyone together".

"But we can't replace us so we chose to come here".

In its 1 a.m. Friday update, the NHC said Florence was about 45 miles east of Wilmington, NC, packing maximum-sustained winds of 90 mph.

Steve Goldstein of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said Florence's forward motion had slowed and it was not expected to make landfall in the Carolinas until "some time Friday afternoon, Friday evening or Saturday morning". Hurricane-force winds extended 80 miles (130 kilometers) from its center, and tropical-storm-force winds up to 195 miles (315 kilometers). The rainfall will cause prolonged significant river flooding.

"This is a very risky storm", said FEMA's Long, urging people still in evacuation zones to heed orders to flee to safer ground. The storm, they warned for the final time, was not to be played with.

"Inland flooding kills a lot of people, unfortunately, and that's what we're about to see", Long added.

At least 150,000 people were without power in North Carolina early Friday with the brunt of the storm yet to come, according to utility companies.

About 1.7 million people in North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia have been put under voluntary or mandatory evacuation orders to avoid what emergency officials called a "once in a lifetime" storm.

In Virginia, 245,000 coastal residents were told to flee. Georgia, where governor Nathan Deal has now declared an emergency, is also thought to be in the firing line.

Since issuing a mandatory evacuation order Wednesday, nearly all of the more than 2500 residents left the island.

Small rooms around the main hub and down winding hallways in the center housed officials covering all aspects of the response - sheltering and feeding the displaced, tracking the storm and its potential destruction, search-and-rescue. A 78-year-old man was electrocuted attempting to connect extension cords while another man died when he was blown down by high winds while checking on his hunting dogs, a county spokesman said.

Other reports by GizPress

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