Published: Sat, September 15, 2018
Science | By

Hurricane Florence starts battering US East Coast

Hurricane Florence starts battering US East Coast

U.S. Southeast power companies said more than 19,000 homes and businesses in North Carolina, Virginia and SC were without on Thursday power as Hurricane Florence approaches the coast. Heavy rainfall began after dark. That said, just because the category has changed, it doesn't mean that it should be taken lightly.

Far out in the Atlantic, Joyce strengthened into a tropical storm on Thursday evening with top sustained winds of 40 miles per hour (65 kph).

Scientists said it is too soon to say what role, if any, global warming played in the storm. "But we still bought the meals we were going to have and requested that the hotel serve those meals to the people who have been relocated, on us".

Winds bent trees toward the ground and raindrops flew sideways as Florence moved in for an extended stay, with enough of its killer winds swirling overseas to maintain its power.

Spanish moss waved in the trees as the winds picked up in Wilmington, and floating docks bounced atop swells at Morehead City.

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

Florence was 155 miles (250km) east of Myrtle Beach in SC at 17:00 EDT (21:00 GMT), and is projected to make landfall on Friday at 08:00 local time. The winds from Florence have decreased a bit, now at category two level (below major status).

It's going to be rainy, windy weekend in Charlotte because of Hurricane Florence and, although, we are probably going to miss the worst of this storm, other parts of the state will be seriously impacted.

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper told a news conference that the "historic" hurricane would unleash rains and floods that would inundate nearly the entire state in several feet of water.

Thursday afternoon, President Donald Trump tweeted that he had just been briefed on the storm and "FEMA, First Responders and Law Enforcement are supplied and ready". The federal response was especially criticized following Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, which even a year later is still struggling to restore even basic services.

"We have lots of water, we've got lots of food, lots of canned food, non-perishable food", she said. "Today the threat becomes a reality", according to The Associated Press.

The head of Duke Energy Corp.'s North Carolina operations says it could take weeks to restore electricity if the company's prediction that 1 million to 3 million of its 4 million customers lose power.

Like many other officials in the storm's path, South Carolina's McMaster said no one will be able to save at-risk residents if they choose to ride out the storm.

Is global warming to blame?

"Your time to get out of those areas in storm surge inundation is coming to a close.

"I was feeling fine until I woke up this morning and this is a ghost town", said Kristin Beard, a 40-year-old Myrtle Beach marketer. Overall, the storm is 400 miles wide.

Some in the Carolinas have expressed frustration after evacuating their homes for a storm that was later downgraded - but officials have pushed back at suggestions that Florence's threat has been exaggerated.

The police chief of Wrightsville Beach, vulnerable on a North Carolina barrier island, agreed that those who refused to leave were now on their own.

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