Published: Fri, September 14, 2018
Science | By

Hurricane Florence Lashes Carolinas, Bringing Life-Threatening Flooding

Hurricane Florence Lashes Carolinas, Bringing Life-Threatening Flooding

The outer reaches of Hurricane Florence began lashing coastal North Carolina with heavy winds and flooded roads on Thursday ahead of an expected landfall that will bring walls of water and lingering downpours to parts of the US East Coast.

Hurricane Florence already inundated coastal streets with ocean water and left tens of thousands without power early Friday, and forecasters say conditions will only worsen as the hulking storm slogs inland.

The Hurricane Florence has began to unleash fierce rains across the USA southeast.

According to reports the cyclone has finally arrived on Wrightsville Beach in North Carolina.

The storm's intensity held at about 90 miles per hour (144 kph), and it appeared that the north side of the eye was the most unsafe place to be as Florence moved ashore.

At least 150,000 people were without power in North Carolina early Friday with the brunt of the storm yet to come, according to utility companies.

Although Florence has been downgraded from a category four to a category two storm, North Carolina governor Roy Cooper warned: "Don't relax, don't get complacent". Residents should expect to see higher tides than usual on the James and York rivers, as well as possible flooding and beach erosion.

More than 60 people had to be pulled from a collapsing motel at the height of the storm, and many more who defied evacuation orders were hoping to be rescued.

North Carolina's governor, Roy Cooper, said Florence was set to cover nearly all of the state in several feet of water.


At least 188,000 people are already without power in North Carolina and SC early on Friday. An additional 400 people were in shelters in Virginia, where forecasts were less dire.

Up to 10 million people lie in the path of the storm, which still poses a risk to life and property, although it has been downgraded to a Category 2 hurricane.

Due to unusual steering patterns in the atmosphere, Florence may crawl southward down the Southeast coast, the opposite direction storms usually travel.

South Carolina's state capital Columbia is at only 89m (292ft).

North Carolina is the largest tobacco grower and ranks second among U.S. states in hog inventory and producing broiler chickens. "We just want prayers from everyone".

What the hurricane "has now lost in terms of maximum wind speeds near its centre, it has now gained in terms of sheer expansiveness", said Peter Mullinax, a meteorologist at Planalytics.

One climate model is predicting that as much as 11 trillion gallons of rain will fall on North Carolina in the coming week - an amount that's enough to fill the Empire State Building 40 times over.

Forecasters said that given the storm's size and slow track, it could cause epic damage similar to what the Houston area saw during Hurricane Harvey just over a year ago. Despite weakening to a Category 1 storm, the Federal Emergency Management Agency gives this ominous warning: "Don't focus on the category of the storm".

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