Published: Fri, September 14, 2018
Science | By

"Once In A Lifetime" Hurricane Florence Weakens, Begins Lashing Eastern US


The outer bands of Hurricane Florence drenched the Carolinas on Thursday, flooding roads, gorging rivers and knocking out power in an ominous glimpse of the damage the storm could inflict when it makes landfall on Friday with millions of people in its path. Florence, though downgraded to a Category 2 storm on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale, remained unsafe and unpredictable, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) said.

As North Carolina residents began to feel the first modest effects of a weakened Hurricane Florence on Thursday, forecasters warned the powerful storm will bring seawater surging onto land and torrential downpours.

But the storm still carried "very unsafe winds", the Center added.

Abrams says he expects Hurricane Florence to bring 10 to 20 inches of rain in most places and that the Carolinas can expect extensive flooding.

Air Force General Terrence J O'Shaughnessy, head of US Command, said search and rescue is a top priority but that the magnitude of the storm may exceed the ability of rescuers.

The centre of Florence is expected to hit North Carolina's southern coast Friday, then drift southwest before moving inland on Saturday.

Governor Roy Cooper requested the added disaster declaration on Thursday (local time) because he anticipates what his office calls "historic major damage" across the state from the hurricane.

Myrtle Beach, a SC beach resort, was virtually deserted with empty streets, boarded up storefronts and very little traffic.

But forecasters warned that the widening storm - and its likelihood of lingering around the coast for days - will bring life-threatening storm surge and torrential rains.


"Inland flooding kills a lot of people unfortunately and that's what we're about to see".

As of 8 a.m. ET, the National Hurricane Center said Florence was centered about 170 miles east-southeast of Wilmington, North Carolina, and about 220 miles east of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. All four states declared a state of emergency.

Duke Energy Co. said Florence could knock out electricity to three-quarters of its 4 million customers in the Carolinas, and outages could last for weeks.

Roughly 1 million people are under evacuation orders. But officials are not taking down their guard yet, and would wait until early next week to determine whether BGE could afford to send crews to other regions to help, she said.

In Wilmington, residents who had decided not to evacuate were lining up to get ice from a vending machine - US$2 for a 7.2kg bag.

"It doesn't matter how much money you have or how many generators you have if you can't get gas", she said.

Perched on the porch of his home, carpenter Tony Albright was calmly awaiting Florence's arrival, beer in hand.

"I built this house myself, so I'm not anxious at all, I know it's solid", he said.

"The only thing missing in there is a hot lady".

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