Threatening Hurricane Florence inches closer to landfall in North Carolina

James Marshall
September 14, 2018

Hurricane Florence has weakened somewhat early Thursday as its outer bands approach the North Carolina coast, but weather officials cautioned that the storm will still bring life-threatening conditions.

A man walks past a boarded-up business in Wilmington, N.C., ahead of the storm. Downpours and flooding would be especially severe, lasting for days, if the storm stalls over land. It was still considered risky with potential for strong winds and hazardous flooding.

"This storm will bring destruction", North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper said. "Surviving this storm will be a test of endurance, teamwork, common sense and patience".

Cooper also requested additional federal disaster assistance in anticipation of what his office called "historic major damage" across the state.

Hurricane-like conditions are expected to arrive in the areas covered by warnings by Thursday night or early Friday.

The storm could dump 20 to 30 inches of rain along the Carolina coast and up to 12 inches inland.

About 400 Virginians are in shelters, Stern estimated.

Prisoners were affected, too. North Carolina corrections officials said more than 3,000 people were relocated from adult prisons and juvenile centers in the path of Florence, and more than 300 county prisoners were transferred to state facilities.

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

HO/AFP/Getty Images In this September 12, 2018 photo provided by NASA, hurricane Florence churns over the Atlantic Ocean heading for the USA east coast as seen from the International Space Station.

Spanish moss waved in the trees as the winds picked up in Wilmington, and floating docks bounced atop swells at Morehead City.

Already Thursday, streets were transformed into raging streams and massive waves surged along the Outer Banks. It was located 85 miles from Wilmington at 8 p.m. Thursday and its eye was expected to make landfall Friday, the advisory said.

The Carolinas will bear the brunt of the storm, but as it moves inland, Virginia, Georgia, and Maryland will also be hit.

Its hurricane-force winds extend up to 130 kilometres (80 miles) from the centre, and its tropical storm-force winds extend up to 315 kilometres (195 miles).

The images, captured from249 miles above the storm, captured Florence as it draws close to North Carolina's coast. "Not only that, but the wind field actually expands as the center of circulation starts to lose some intensity, you'll start to get hurricane force winds further out from the storm".

"It certainly is a challenge forecasting precise impacts when its exact track won't be known until a day in advance", Landsea said: There's "a huge difference" in the size and type of damage Florence inflicts if it stays 50 miles off shore versus heading inland immediately.

Florence's winds had dropped from a peak of 225km/h to 169km/h by Thursday, reducing the hurricane from a terrifying Category 4 to a 2.

After criticism for its response in Puerto Rico to last year's Hurricane Maria, which officials there said was responsible for 3,000 deaths, Trump has vowed a vigorous response to Florence and defended his handling of Maria.

"Well operate without power; we have candles".

The first large power outage in the Wilmington area also occurred Thursday morning, with the Duke outage map showing almost 1,400 customers in the Acme-Delco area of Columbus County and northwest Brunswick County without power.

"This is our only home. We're still going to have a Category 4 storm surge", CNN meteorologist Chad Myers said.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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