Hurricane Florence: Four reasons to fear this storm

James Marshall
September 14, 2018

The National Hurricane Center said late Thursday that Florence has brought a life-threatening storm surge and hurricane-force winds to the North Carolina Coast.

Once a Category 4 hurricane with winds of 140 miles per hour, the hurricane was downgraded to a Category 1 on Thursday night.

About 1.7 million residents across the states' coastlines are under mandatory evacuation orders, and tens of thousands of hospital patients and prison inmates have been moved out of Florence's path. The actual landfall - when the center of the eye reaches land - will be Friday afternoon at the earliest, said Neil Jacobs of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Even if you know nothing about hurricanes, an unavoidable sense of doom and destruction overtakes you when you look at this image of Hurricane Florence as it moves inexorably toward North and SC.

Antonio Ramirez, a construction worker from El Salvador living in Leland, North Carolina, said he planned to ride out the worst of the weather with his dog Canelo.

Cooper said the storm will dump historic amounts of rain on eastern North Carolina.

General O'Shaughnessy said there were about 7,000 U.S. military personnel now in place and ready to respond to the storm, along with ships, helicopters, high-wheeled vehicles and other equipment. "We've prepared all our supplies at home and frankly, we were bored".

Roslyn Fleming, 56, said her granddaughter was baptized in the inlet near where she lives in the coastal community of Sea Breeze and on Thursday morning she used her iPad to make a video of the scene.

"You have water coming onshore and you can rainfall coming down that's trying to move out", he said.

The expected high winds and slow movement of the hurricane as it comes ashore are likely to make rescue efforts in flooded areas challenging, senior US Defence Department officials say.

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

The massive storm is larger than North Carolina and South Carolina - combined, according to South Carolina Emergency Management. Restoring power to all customers could take weeks, it said. Ocean water flowed between homes and on to streets on the Outer Banks; waves crashed against wooden fishing piers. The top wind gusts were reported in Raleigh are at 39 miles per hour.

The effects of Hurricane Florence can already be felt along the coast of North Carolina as of 12 p.m. on September 13.

More than 1.7 million people in the Carolinas and Virginia were warned to evacuate over the past few days, and the homes of about 10 million were under watches or warnings for the hurricane or tropical storm conditions.

"We expected it to strengthen and then as it approached the coast to weaken somewhat", Abrams says.

The forecast calls for as much as 40 inches (102 centimeters) of rain over seven days along the coast, with the deluge continuing even as the center of the storm pushes its way over the Appalachian Mountains.

A state of emergency has been declared in five coastal states - North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Maryland and Virginia - as well as the USA capital Washington.

Near the beach in Wilmington, a Waffle House restaurant, part of a chain with a reputation for staying open during disasters, had no plans to close, even if power was lost, and there were lines to get in on Thursday evening. Instead, they drove 150 miles (240 km) inland to his mother's house in Durham.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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