Carolinas coastal residents wait, watch as Florence's fury begins

Terry Joseph
September 14, 2018

Forecasters at the National Hurricane Center warned that Florence remained deadly because of its size and slow forward speed, even if its top sustained winds have dropped it to Category 2 status as a hurricane.

The storm's center was about 100 miles (160 km) southeast of Wilmington, North Carolina, at 3 p.m. EDT (1900 GMT) but already some 19,000 homes and businesses in the Carolinas and Virginia were without power by mid-afternoon.

The storm was moving west-northwest at 10 miles per hour with winds that have decreased significantly to 100 miles per hour.

Florence will bring large rainfall totals through Saturday in North Carolina, north SC and Virginia, causing catastrophic flash flooding.

A tropical storm warning is in effect for north of Duck, NC, to Cape Charles Light, VA, and for Chesapeake Bay south of New Point Comfort.

"The time to prepare is nearly over", North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper told a morning news conference.

Florence's hurricane force winds now extends 80 miles from the center, while the tropical storm force winds reaches almost 200 miles, according to the National Hurricane Center.

The rest of South and North Carolina as well as southwest Virginia may see up to 24 inches of rain.

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

People in areas vulnerable to the risky hurricane, particularly those in coastal regions, have fled ahead of the storm.

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Rather than pushing up toward western Virginia , the storm's center is now predicted to move across the middle of SC . By sunset Thursday and through most of Friday , our area will see the worst of the conditions, he said.

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About 5.25 million people live in areas under hurricane warnings or watches, and 4.9 million live in places covered by tropical storm warnings or watches, the National Weather Service said.

Rain projections also increased, with some locations along the North Carolina coast now expected to get up to 40 inches. We'll discuss the latest on the storm.

Duke Energy, a power company in the Carolinas, estimated that one million to three million customers could lose electricity because of the storm and that it could take weeks to restore.

In the midst of what's being called a "monster storm", some US residents are welcoming Hurricane Florence with parties. The trend is "exceptionally bad news", said University of Miami hurricane researcher Brian McNoldy, since it "smears a landfall out over hundreds of miles of coastline, most notably the storm surge". The slow forward motion means Florence will batter the area with heavy rainfall, producing up to 40 inches in coastal North Carolina and northeastern SC. The centre is slowing down and is expected to stall and perhaps wander around just off shore on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

"But that's not going to be until Monday", Eliasen said".

Will Epperson, 36, a golf course assistant superintendent, said he and his wife had planned to ride out the storm in his home in Hampstead, North Carolina, but reconsidered due to its ferocity.

Tropical Storm Isaac was east of the Lesser Antilles and expected to pass south of Puerto Rico, Hispaniola and Cuba, while Hurricane Helene was moving northward away from land.

Boarding up his home in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, Chris Pennington watched the forecasts and tried to decide when to leave.

A few of the high-resolution images show the towering walls of the eye of the storm where things are ever so much calmer than they are near the wall of the eye.

Other reports by Free-Prsite

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