Hurricane Florence still a threat despite downgrade

James Marshall
September 13, 2018

The primary example of this is 2012's Hurricane Sandy, which had modest 80mph winds by the time it reached the NY and New Jersey areas.

Life-threatening storm surges of up to 13 feet have been forecast in some areas when the monster storm eventually makes landfall in North and SC. Though Ike had 110mph winds at landfall, it had grown very large over the Gulf of Mexico, and this large size allowed it to develop an enormous amount of "integrated energy" that manifested itself as a devastating storm surge.

Some airports are already closed, others may cease operations Thursday, and American and other airlines are moving their planes to higher and drier ground. "This rainfall would produce catastrophic flash flooding and prolonged significant river flooding", the Hurricane Center said.

This same zone will be hammered by winds gusting up to hurricane force for almost a day while tropical-storm conditions could linger twice that long. Older homes and less-reinforced homes will sustain some wind damage as well. Despite the fact that the hurricane has been downgraded to Category 2, the 80 miles per hour winds and coastal flooding will still cause significant damage throughout the southeast. Florence's worst aspect: its slowing down and stalling over coastal areas, causing up to 19-foot storm surges, and dropping from 6 to 40 (!) inches of rain. Some of the storm's wind and rain could even creep into eastern Georgia.

The Hurricane Center reported heavy rain bands with tropical-storm-force winds had arrived in the North Carolina Outer Banks.

The effects of Hurricane Florence can already be felt along the coast of North Carolina as of 12 p.m. on September 13. On Thursday morning, South 17th Street, usually teeming with commuter traffic by 6:30 a.m., was almost devoid of cars.

Its maximum sustained winds dropped slightly from 110 miles per hour earlier Thursday to 105 miles per hour, but the storm remains a Category 2 hurricane that is expected to cause widespread catastrophic damage. However, meteorologists are warning that people in its path are still facing risky, life-threatening conditions. Some flooding was forecast early in the day for parts of North Florida, but those forecasts were adjusted later to include high swells and minor coastal flooding at high tide.

In a press conference on Monday, South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster said predations were made to accommodate 1 million people leaving the coast, a report by The State said.

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

The latest storm surge has some areas under over 8 feet of water.

Michelle Stober loaded up valuables at her home on Wrightsville Beach to drive back to her primary residence in Cary, North Carolina.

The storm is also predicted to bring historic rainfall of up to 35 inches to the Wilmington region.

"Floodwaters may enter numerous structures, and some may become uninhabitable or washed away", the Weather Service warned.

McMaster ordered mandatory evacuation of coastal SC counties on Tuesday.

"As it tracks towards the United Kingdom it will degrade - it will become an ex-tropical storm". "I want to get them as far away as possible".

"As soon as a storm is about to hit, all traffic stops in and out of the area until the storm calms down and the roads are clear", she says.

She added: "The feeling is that it's the wind that's going to be the issue rather than rain and we're probably looking at gale-force winds". "Prepare for long power outages". "The combination of a unsafe storm surge and the tide will cause normally dry areas near the coast to be flooded by rising waters moving inland from the shoreline". Because the storm was so strong earlier in the week, it built up a wall of water which will push inland as the storm surge. It's a horrifying spectacle to behold, and the hurricane hasn't even struck land yet. But then they gradually diverge.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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