Eyewall of Florence slams Carolinas as Cat-1 hurricane

James Marshall
September 14, 2018

Florence was downgraded to a Category 1 hurricane on Thursday evening with peak winds of 90 miles per hour (150 km/h).

But forecasters warned that the widening storm - and its likelihood of lingering around the coast for days - will bring life-threatening storm surge and torrential rains.

At 8 a.m., the center of Florence was 10 miles (15 kilometers) south of Wilmington.

The district said staging in the actual impact area will minimize delays in rescue efforts in areas expected to see major flooding.

Hurricane Florence will be one of the biggest storms to make landfall along the United States eastern seaboard in decades.

The storm was downgraded late Thursday to a Category 1, as the North Carolina coast was battered by hurricane-force winds and a life-threatening storm surge.

Cedar Cliff Camp, a Christian summer camp in Buncombe County, North Carolina, posted a video Wednesday night offering its 24 cabins to evacuees.

A gust of 105 miles per hour (169 kph) was recorded at the Wilmington airport, surpassing the power of Hurricane Fran two decades ago. Hurricane-force winds extended 80 miles (130 kilometers) from its center, and tropical-storm-force winds reached out to 195 miles (315 kilometers).

Folks in Charleston, South Carolina, who have chosen not to evacuate, are preparing for a nasty storm that could make landfall right in their backyard.

According to the Weather Channel, almost 300,000 people are already without power across the state.

About 1.7 million people in North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia are under voluntary or mandatory evacuation orders and millions of others live in areas likely to be affected by what officials called a "once in a lifetime" storm. He talks about the "adrenaline rush" from reporting from the front lines, and in the same breath talks about all the risks first responders have to take to rescue people who refused to evacuate.

After all that, what is left of Florence will turn north towards Rochester. The electricity provider says it began powering down one reactor at the Brunswick plant earlier this morning and would start shutting the second reactor later today. A city spokeswoman Colleen Roberts told WRAL-TV that 200 people have already been plucked to safety. "Get prepared on the East Coast, this is a no-kidding nightmare coming for you".

Warning of looming storm surges of nine to 12 feet (2.7-3.6 meters), he urged residents to take the storm seriously no matter the category, saying "this is all about the water, anyway".

Some 11,000 power outages have been reported in North Carolina.

Coastal streets flowed with frothy ocean water, and more than 460,000 homes and businesses were without power, mostly in North Carolina, according to poweroutage.us, which tracks the nation's electrical grid. Some residents have reported that they are trapped in their attics and on their roofs as storm surge has flooded the lower levels of their homes.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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