Florence's 'violent grind' leaves at least four dead in Carolinas

Terry Joseph
September 16, 2018

In addition to the storm surge, "There is going to be a lot of rain", North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper said on Thursday. "Catastrophic effects will be felt".

USA forecasters today downgraded Hurricane Florence to a Category 1 storm, as its outer edge lashed the Carolinas with strong winds and heavy rain.

Florence is now a tropical storm sitting over the Carolina coasts and moving slowly inland and south, causing life-threatening storm surges and potentially "catastrophic freshwater flooding" according to the National Weather Service.

The National Weather Service said as much as 18cm of rain had fallen overnight in some coastal areas.

Combined with the predicted rainfall, it's possible that flooding damages will pose as the greatest risk during Hurricane Florence's reign. At one rectangular table in the conference room, there were FEMA officials who were tasked with monitoring the state's four nuclear plants in order to certify that will be OK to operate after the storm passes. We know it has forced the cancellation of almost 1,800 flights, with more to come, and that it has already caused serious flooding in coastal areas. It's expected to dump several feet of rain and bring in at least nine feet of storm surge to the coast.

The outer bands of the cyclone drenched the Carolinas on Thursday, flooding roads and knocking out power in an ominous glimpse of the damage it could inflict when it makes landfall on Friday.

For anyone who stayed behind near the coast, or find themselves facing the brunt of the storm, officials are offering safety advice. Restoring power to all customers could take weeks, it said.

At least 12,000 people had taken refuge in 126 emergency shelters, Cooper said, with more facilities being opened.

A buoy off the North Carolina coast recorded waves almost 30 feet (9 meters) high as Florence churned toward shore.

Florence's top winds were clocked on Thursday evening at 90 miles per hour (150 km/h) as it churned in the Atlantic Ocean, down from a peak of 140 miles per hour (224 km/h) earlier this week when it was classified a Category 4 storm.

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The forecast calls for as much as 102cm of rain over seven days along the coast, with the deluge continuing even as the centre of the storm pushes its way over the Appalachian Mountains.

The Pentagon has dispatched two ships and a Marine unit offshore to provide help if needed.

Rescue helicopters and trucks that can navigate floodwaters are also standing by. "And I can not stress enough the importance of adhering to the governor's orders for mandatory evacuation".

Two women who were riding out the storm dance to the music outside the Barbary Coast bar in downtown Wilmington, N.C., as Hurricane Florence threatens the coast, September 13, 2018.

People in areas vulnerable to the unsafe hurricane, particularly those in coastal regions, have fled ahead of the storm. "We might leave", she said.

The police chief of Wrightsville Beach suggested that those who made a decision to stay give him their next-of-kin contact information. "We'll handle it. We're ready".

The hospital's president, Ronnie Sloan, said they're remaining open for "the same reason we got into health care".

"I'm not going to put our personnel in harm's way, especially for people that we've already told to evacuate", Wrightsville Beach Police Chief Dan House said.

Florence's winds weakened as it drew closer to land, dropping from a peak of 140 miles per hour earlier in the week, and the hurricane was downgraded from a Category 4 to a Category 2. "Plan to be without power for days".

North Carolina activated 2,800 National Guard personnel, and SC called up 2,100 of its National Guard soldiers to be ready to aid in recovery efforts once the storm has passed.

Other reports by Free-Prsite

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