Hurricane Florence storm downgraded but still "very dangerous"

15 September, 2018, 14:51 | Author: Bert Pena
  • UPDATED THU 5 A.M. Map shows probable path of Hurricane Florence.; 1c x 2 1/2 inches 46.5 mm x 63

The National Hurricane Center said Florence's winds have slowed to tropical storm strength, and said the storm is moving slowly inland with sustained winds of 110 kilometers per hour and higher gusts.

"A big worry about Hurricane Florence is that it's not acting like a normal hurricane", said Al Jazeera's Andy Gallacher, reporting from Wilmington, North Carolina.

The storm made landfall Friday in North Carolina, bringing punishing winds, heavy rain and record flooding that drove some residents to seek shelter in attics or upper floors of homes.

It all seems pretty bad, I mean, actually, real bad. City spokeswoman Colleen Roberts tells WRAL-TV that 200 people have already been rescued.

According to poweroutage.us, more than 500,000 customers in North Carolina and 50,000 in SC were without power on Friday morning, though the Weather Channel estimates up to 3 million customers could lose power in the Carolinas due to Florence. More than a dozen major rivers in the Carolinas and southern Virginia are forecast by the National Weather Service to reach flood stage, and some - including the Neuse, Pamlico, Lumber, Waccamaw, Northeast Cape Fear and the Pee Dee rivers - are expected to set all-time flood records.

"It's been really nice", Nicole Roland said.

"We anticipate Hurricane Florence to be a historic storm that will impact all customers", a company spokesperson told Reuters. Its surge could cover all but a sliver of the Carolina coast under as much as 11 feet (3.4 meters) of ocean water, and days of downpours could unload more than 3 feet (0.9 meters) of rain, touching off severe flooding. It's unclear exactly how many people fled, but more than 1.7 million people in the Carolinas and Virginia were warned to clear out.

"WE ARE COMING TO GET YOU", the city of New Bern tweeted.

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The storm known as Florence is creating a slow-motion natural disaster for the Carolinas that could prove deceptively lethal as swollen rivers and streams spill over their banks and continue to rise.

Rain is forecast to continue through the weekend, bringing unsafe flooding conditions to many areas of North Carolina. But once New Bern TV news station WCTI evacuated its newsroom Thursday night because of flooding and people began to lose power, the seriousness of the situation began dawning on folks, she said.

Monetary donations also are are accepted at many locations.

More than 80,000 people were already without power as the storm approached, and more than 12,000 were in shelters. Calls for help multiplied as the wind picked up and the tide rolled in.

Wind gusts of up to 100 miles per hour were reported at Cape Fear Community College in Wilmington, the hurricane center said. U.S. media later said a second man in Lenoir County died after heavy winds knocked him down as he tried to check on his dogs.

President Donald Trump declared a state of emergency in SC ahead of the storm. NEW BERN OVERWHELMEDIn New Bern, North Carolina, the storm surge "overwhelmed" the town, located at the confluence of the Neuse and Trent rivers, Cooper said.

"We are still in hurricane season so there's always a chance that we'll have another one, plus winter is coming so these might be items that people can use", Whitaker said. Forecasters are also warning of catastrophic inland flooding that could swamp homes, businesses, farm fields and industrial sites. "We have two boats and all our worldly possessions", said Susan Patchkofsky, who refused her familys pleas to evacuate and stayed at Emerald Isle with her husband.

On social media, residents have suggested donating to local school sports teams or high school band programs, but York County Public Schools have not made an official request for supplies, spokeswoman Katherine Goff said.

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