Hurricane Florence kills at least three people

16 September, 2018, 14:02 | Author: Carlos George
  • Hurricane Florence approaches landfall in North Carolina; more than 80,000 without power

The Category 1 storm's winds have weakened in intensity as it neared the coast, but forecasters say the real hazard from the storm will most likely be the rains and flooding as the storm moves southwest into SC before turning north.

The National Hurricane Center warned the threat of tornadoes was increasing as Florence neared shore and South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster said the heavy rains could trigger landslides in the western part of his state.

"We live in a mobile home so we were just like 'No way, '" she said.

At landfall, Florence was a Category 1 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 90 miles per hour. A storm surge of more than nine feet is expected to be caused from the hurricane, covering cars, street signs and homes.

Power outages are widespread including over 740,000 in North Carolina and 163,000 in SC. Florence dumped more than 20 inches on Oriental, N.C., the NHC said. Gusty winds will send the ocean and rivers spilling into neighborhoods. "The longer you have this hurricane wind flow, the longer you push that water well inland", he said.

About 10 million people could be affected by the storm and more than 1 million had been ordered to evacuate the coasts of the Carolinas and Virginia, jamming westbound roads and highways for miles.

The No. 1 mission right now, Cooper said, is to save lives.

"You can't get over till we have power and we have sewer up and running", said the retired teacher and real estate agent, who rode out the hurricane in an inland hotel.

The city of Jacksonville's statement says people have been moved to the city's public safety center as officials work to find a more permanent shelter.

Hurricane Florence battered the Carolinas Friday with howling winds, life-threatening storm surges and torrential rains as it came to close making landfall in what officials warned is a once in a lifetime event. A mandatory evacuation order was issued for the area earlier this week.

"We had pretty high floodwaters up until the early morning hours", Risty-Davis tells NPR's Morning Edition. "I'm not sure what's that floating down there, but it's big".

A.M. Update: Prolonged rain will bring floods
Spanish moss waved in the trees as the winds picked up in Wilmington, and floating docks bounced atop swells at Morehead City. Charlotte and Asheville in North Carolina , and Roanoke, Virginia, could also be in for heavy rains as Florence plods inland.

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North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper said, 'The time to prepare is nearly over. The picture show began earlier in the week.

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Cheryl Browning lives with her husband and son, who has terminal cancer, in Richlands, North Carolina. Other residents have told CNN they're not evacuating because emergency shelters won't accept pets.

She, her husband and three children escaped into the attic, but the winds howled, and the family fled to an upper floor bedroom.

"It's the worst feeling in the world to hear people yelling for help, and you can't do anything", she said.

The Wilmington airport had a wind gust clocked at 105 miles per hour (169 kph), the highest since Hurricane Helene in 1958. At the city's airport, the wind was gusting at 91 miles per hour.

Rain water flooded streets are pictured as Hurricane Florence moves into the Carolinas in Wilmington, North Carolina, U.S., September 14, 2018. Florence's landfall - when the center of the eye reaches land - is likely to happen mid- to late morning Friday, CNN forecasters said. Its surge could cover all but a sliver of the Carolina coast under as much as 11 feet of ocean water, and days of downpours could unload more than 3 feet of rain, touching off severe flooding.

The National Hurricane Centre said a gauge in Emerald Isle, North Carolina, reported 6.3 feet (1.92 metres) of inundation.

As it moves inland, the storm is expected to bring its high winds and intense rain bands across the southeastern corner of North Carolina and a large chunk of SC.

Forecasters say it is especially unsafe after dark because people trying to escape may not realize how deep flood water is on roads. Significant weakening is expected over the weekend.

To prepare for this storm, businesses have been boarding up, and supplies have been readied for what is expected to be a large-scale relief operation.

At least 88,000 people were without power in North Carolina with the brunt of the storm yet to come, according to the state's emergency management agency. Thousands of soldiers from their National Guard forces have been mobilized.

Florence was seen as a major test for FEMA, which was heavily criticized as slow and unprepared past year for Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, where the storm was blamed for almost 3,000 deaths in the desperate months that followed.

Tropical Storm Helene, Tropical Storm Joyce and the potential disturbance are not expected to be a threat to US interests in the next five days, if at all. Its designation then was "potential tropical cyclone six".

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