Hurricane Florence Rocks Wooden Pier in Nags Head

James Marshall
September 14, 2018

Reports out of Wilmington, North Carolina, said that the outer bands of wind and rain from Florence, a Category 2 storm with 105 miles per hour winds, are hitting North Carolina. "Our greatest concern about this storm remains the same - storm surge and massive flooding", he said.

FEMA and the National Weather Service also urged residents along the coast to evacuate.

As of 7:30 a.m. EST, 402,974 residents were experiencing power outages, according to the North Carolina Department of Safety.

Hundreds of thousands of people have evacuated the coast, more than 1500 USA flights have been cancelled, factories were shut and farmers rushed to save crops, poultry and pigs in anticipation of the storm.

"This is a very unsafe storm", said FEMA's Long, urging people still in evacuation zones to heed orders to flee to safer ground.

More than a million people along the coastlines of North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia have been ordered to evacuate.

At least 188,000 people are already without power in North Carolina and SC early on Friday.

Residents wade through deep floodwater to retrieve belongings from the Trent Court public housing apartments after the Neuse River went over its banks during Hurricane Florence September 13, 2018 in New Bern, US.

Federal emergency management officials warned that Florence - while weakening slightly - remains a "very risky storm" capable of wreaking havoc along a wide swathe of the coast. Most of the damage during Hurricane Matthew in 2016 in North Carolina came from inland flooding - 31 people died and almost 100,000 homes were destroyed.

Up to 10 million people lie in the path of the storm, which still poses a risk to life and property, although it has been downgraded to a Category 2 hurricane.

"If this thing comes inland and stops in eastern North Carolina like they forecast it, and we get two days of continuous rain, the rain will be our biggest damage", he said.

In its 0300 GMT advisory, the National Hurricane Center said the maximum sustained winds of Florence were 90 miles per hour (150 kilometers per hour), dropping it to the weakest of five categories on the Saffir-Simpson scale.

"The remainder of SC and North Carolina into southwest Virginia will see 5 to 10 inches, with isolated 15 inches". Another 400 people were in shelters in Virginia, where forecasts were less dire.

The threat from Florence may spread to other states after the pummeling of the Carolinas.

Forecasters said that given the storm's size and slow track, it could cause epic damage similar to what the Houston area saw during Hurricane Harvey just over a year ago. Some 3,000 people died in the aftermath of that storm.

"In a matter of seconds, my house was flooded up to the waist, and now it is to the chest", said Peggy Perry, who along with three relatives, was trapped early Friday in her New Bern home, according to CNN.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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