Hurricane Florence bears down on Carolinas

Lawrence Kim
September 14, 2018

The Hurricane Center's Dennis Feltgen reiterated that warning, saying 90 percent of hurricane-related deaths are from problems that arise with the massive amounts of water.

On top of the potentially destructive hurricane, forecasters also put parts of North Carolina on tornado watch.

One video, below shows the effect from a potential storm surge which could rise up to 9 feet in some areas.

The hurricane's surge could cover large swathes of the Carolina coast under as much as 11ft (3.3m) of seawater.

The downgraded status of the storm, which indicates that Hurricane Florence is moving at maximum sustained wind speeds of 110 miles per hour, means little in terms of its impact and deadly potential, according to Elliot Abrams, chief forecaster at Accuweather. However, it's possible that Florence will stay just offshore, dumping rain on North Carolina as she moves south, not moving inland until she reaches Myrtle Beach.

Two women who were riding out the storm dance to the music outside the Barbary Coast bar in downtown Wilmington, N.C., as Hurricane Florence threatens the coast, September 13, 2018.

Florence is forecast to significantly weaken as it crawls across central South Carolina Saturday.

Florence's expected slowdown means a prolonged period near the coast, said the hurricane center's Joel Cline. It could then head west and southwest.

Florence could bring wind-driven storm surges of seawater as high as four metres and NHC Director Ken Graham said on Facebook they could push in as far as three kilometres.

The impact is expected to be similar to that of Hurricane Harvey on the Houston area previous year, Feltgen said.

He added that people living near rivers, streams and lowland areas in the region were most at risk.

Florence should continue losing strength as it menders along the coast, weakening further as the storm travels across inland SC on Saturday, the weather service said.

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

As of 6 a.m., Florence was centered just 10 miles (20 kilometers) east of Wilmington, North Carolina. "So far, the power is on - Waffle House is open".

In Myrtle Beach, ABC correspondent Pete Combs painted a starker picture of those who made a decision to stay in place.

As Florence drew near, President Donald Trump tweeted that FEMA and first responders are "supplied and ready", and he disputed the official conclusion that almost 3,000 people died in Puerto Rico, claiming the figure was a Democratic plot to make him look bad.

"(It's) very eerie, the wind howling, the rain blowing sideways, debris flying", said Orsa, who lives nearby and fears splintering trees will pummel her house. "They pulled out all the furniture out of the yard".

It said the additional declaration would bring more federal help with debris removal, search and rescue teams, meals and generators, among other items.

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. Two amphibious Navy ships are on standby to respond and provide disaster relief after Florence moves through.

Virginia remains under a state of emergency.

Officials said some 1.7 million people in the Carolinas and Virginia were warned to evacuate, but its unclear how many did. Meteorologists at the National Weather Service's Wilmington office are waiting for the National Hurricane Center to confirm the track of the eyeball, which typically has the storm's strongest winds.

High winds and downed power lines are another concern for that region.

"Inland flooding kills a lot of people unfortunately and that's what we're about to see".

About 400 Virginians are in shelters, Stern estimated.

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam reminded residents to stay off the roads and shelter in place.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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