'Threat becomes reality': Florence begins days of rain, wind

14 September, 2018, 12:57 | Author: Sherry Houston
  • ABC News Map shows the areas at risk of flash flooding as Hurricane Florence heads towards the east coast of the U.S. Sept. 13 2018

Hurricane Florence battered the Carolinas early Friday (Sep 14) with howling winds, life-threatening storm surges and torrential rains as it edged closer to the coast in what officials warned is a "once in a lifetime" event.

Hurricane Florence is expected to hover over the Carolinas through Saturday night, dumping an insane amount of rain and wind on the area.

Some minor flooding was reported on the Outer Banks - barrier islands off the coast of North Carolina - and in some seaside coastal towns, as more than 110,000 power outages were reported statewide.

A buoy off the North Carolina coast recorded waves almost 30 feet high as Florence churned toward shore.

In its 0300 GMT advisory, the National Hurricane Center said the maximum sustained winds of Florence were 90 miles per hour (150 kilometers per hour), dropping it to the weakest of five categories on the Saffir-Simpson scale.

Marco Petagna, a Met Office forecaster, told the Sun Online: "Storm Helene is still in the Atlantic but it could have an influence in Britain next week". Florence is expected to arrive in southeast North Carolina on Friday morning before drifting south into SC.

What also makes Florence extremely risky are the deadly storm surges, mammoth coastal flooding and historic rainfall expected far inland.

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

"Some say North Carolina is getting a break, but we are on the wrong side of this story", he said. "Well, we're about to get punched in the face".

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Up to 40 inches of rain could fall in North Carolina.

Officials said people refusing to evacuate could end up alone, drenched and in the dark, as rescue crews won't go out to help in winds above 50 miles per hour.

Hurricane Florence is beginning to bear down on the Carolinas with heavy winds and rising tides. It has also moved most ships, submarines and planes out their base at Hampton Roads, Virginia, to safety far at sea or in distant airbases.

North Carolina will see up to eight months of rain in a two- to three-day period, National Weather Service forecaster Brandon Locklear said in a video briefing.

"The people of North Carolina need to understand that Matthew was a Category 1 hurricane when it finally made landfall in the Carolinas, and it caused hundreds of millions of dollars in damage", US Sen.

Residents of the Carolinas and neighboring states should consult local authorities for any evacuation orders and other preparation guidelines.

Officials in several states have declared states of emergency, including in the Carolinas, Georgia, Virginia and Maryland, where coastal areas are still recovering from summer storms.

In Wilmington, residents who had decided not to evacuate were lining up to get ice from a vending machine - US$2 for a 7.2kg bag.

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