Near 440,000 without power as Florence batters Carolinas

James Marshall
September 15, 2018

Forecasters have been predicting catastrophic flash flooding.

At 90 miles per hour, its wind speed was dipping but still risky. We will have tropical storm force winds and rain and storm surge continues to be our main concern with extreme flooding. Rainfall of up to 20 to 40 inches could fall over the next five days in some areas, forecasters say.

An onlooker checks out the heavy surf at the Avalon Fishing Pier in Kill Devil Hills.

A gust of 169km/h was recorded at Wilmington airport, surpassing the power of Hurricane Fran two decades ago.

North Carolina's Emergency Management tweeted that more than 154,000 homes were already without electricity by late Thursday.

Hundreds more had to be rescued elsewhere from rising waters.

FEMA teams were employing boats in the rescues and were determining which cases were the most severe.

Four shelters were now open, Roberts said, adding that dispatchers received a call for 17 people stranded all on one street. Another 400 people were in shelters in Virginia, where forecasts were less dire.

Half a million people were left without power today as Hurricane Florence made landfall in North Carolina after battering the coast throughout the night.

More than 60 people, including many children and pets, were evacuated from a hotel in Jacksonville, North Carolina, after strong winds caused parts of the roof to collapse, local officials said.

Spanish moss waved in the trees as the winds picked up in Wilmington, and floating docks bounced atop swells at Morehead City. Ocean water flowed between homes and on to streets on the Outer Banks; waves crashed against wooden fishing piers.

Emergency declarations were in force in Georgia, South and North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia.

By 2 p.m. Saturday, the storm won't even be halfway across SC, forecasters say.

Top winds were holding at 90 miles per hour - that's just a Category 1 hurricane - but some communities were already submerged in more than six feet of water as the storm drenched the coast. Hurricane Florence will slow down as it approaches the coast and moves inland.

Not everyone was taking Florence too seriously: About two dozen locals gathered Thursday night in the United States behind the boarded-up windows of The Barbary Coast bar as Florence blew into Wilmington.

Marson said they'd lost power and the winds were howling outside, but they had enough food and water to last them for days.

"This is our only home". As Cooper said, "There's nowhere for the water to go". "We chose to hunker down".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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