Published: Fri, September 14, 2018
Science | By

Hurricane Florence bears down on Carolinas

Hurricane Florence bears down on Carolinas

Because a large section of the storm will remain over the water, and it's even possible the center drifts back over the ocean, its weakening will be very slow on Friday.

After days of warnings that this could be a storm like nothing the Southeast has seen before, Hurricane Florence began lashing the coast of the Carolinas on Thursday, bringing up to a foot of rain and winds of over 105 miles per hour.

Hurricane Florence again decreased in speed late Thursday and was downgraded to a Category 1 hurricane, but the storm has already wreaked havoc and meteorologists warn that it will do considerable damage.

The National Weather Service warned that people should have their hurricane preparations in place Thursday before the storm moves in toward land overnight.

"It truly is really about the whole size of the storm", said National Hurricane Center head Ken Graham.

The NHC said the threat of tornadoes was increasing as Florence neared shore and South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster said the heavy rain could trigger landslides in the west of his state.

Coastal streets were inundated with ocean water, causing damage to dozens of homes and businesses, officials said.

The center said the threat of freshwater flooding will increase over the next several days.

"I'm not going to put our personnel in harm's way", said Dan House.

Hurricane #Florence is here.

People walk on a local street as water from Neuse River starts flooding houses upon Hurricane Florence coming ashore in New Bern, North Carolina, U.S., September 13, 2018.

"Don't relax, don't get complacent".

A man waves the United States national flag in the wind and rain from from Hurricane Florence in Wilmington, North Carolina on September 13, 2018.

Rescue helicopters and trucks that can navigate floodwaters are also standing by.

"I would not read too much into the categories", said Howard Silverman, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.

"But with conditions with the way they are, there are some area where it's just not safe to perform rescues", Parker says.

After landfall, the storm is expected to linger over the area for a few days, which would result in rising river levels and lakes.

The zoo planned to be closed through Friday. Wilmington is now experiencing winds at 85 miles per hour.

Kemp Burdette, with Cape Fear River Watch, said the runoff from animal waste is at the top of his list of concerns.

It appeared that the north side of the eye was the most risky place to be as Florence moved ashore.

But that, combined with the storm's slowing forward movement and heavy rains, had North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper warning of an impending disaster. Airlines had canceled almost 1,000 flights and counting. Home Depot and Lowe's activated emergency response centers and sent in around 1,100 trucks to get generators, trash bags and bottled water to stores before and after 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.

"A weak Category 3 and a strong Category 2 are pretty close to each other, if you just think about category". He said that the hurricane could only be captured on a super-wide lens, even from 400 kilometres up.

"When that last ferry pulls's unnerving to see it pull away and know, 'That's the last chance I have of getting off this island, '" she said Wednesday.

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