Published: Sun, September 16, 2018
Science | By

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

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

The center of Florence is expected to hit North Carolina's southern coast Friday, then drift southwest before moving inland on Saturday, enough time to drop as much as 40 inches (1 meter) of rain in places, according to the National Hurricane Center.

Hurricane Florence has now been downgraded to a Category 2 hurricane, with wind speeds at a destructive 110 miles per hour. But forecasters warned that the widening storm - and its likelihood of lingering around the coast day after day - will bring seawater surging onto land and torrential downpours.

"For a meandering storm, the biggest concern - as we saw with Harvey - is the huge amount of rainfall", said Chris Landsea, chief of tropical analysis and forecast branch at the National Hurricane Center.

As of 11am local time, Florence was centred about 145 miles south east of Wilmington and its forward movement slowed to 10mph.

Hurricane Florence is at the doorstep of North and SC, and she's not going away anytime soon.

The National Hurricane Centre warned the threat of tornadoes was increasing as Florence neared shore and South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster said the heavy rains could trigger landslides in the western part of his state.

More than 80,000 people were already without power as the storm approached, and more than 12,000 were in shelters.

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.

"As the rain pours down during the storm, inland evacuations may become necessary and the time for completing such tasks will come to an end as travel becomes increasing hard and unsafe", Sosnowski said.


Brenda Bethune told NBC's "Today" show Thursday morning that public safety crews have been checking to make sure businesses are secure, and looking for anything that could become a projectile as the winds come ashore.

Florence's top winds were clocked on Thursday at 100 miles per hour (170 km per hour) as it churned in the Atlantic Ocean, down from a peak of 140 mph (224 kph) earlier this week when it was classified a Category 4 storm.

Airlines cancelled almost 1,000 flights and counting.

Scientists said it is too soon to say what role, if any, global warming played in the storm.

The police chief of a barrier island in the bull's-eye of Hurricane Florence is warning any stragglers who refused to evacuate that they are making a unsafe choice.

Florence's weakening as it neared the coast created tension between some who left home and authorities who anxious that the storm could still be deadly.

"Against my better judgment, due to emotionalism, I evacuated", he said.

More than 22,600 people were housed in 150 shelters statewide, including schools, churches and Wake Forest University's basketball arena. "I've got four cats inside the house".

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