Wednesday, 26 September, 2018

Threatening Hurricane Florence makes landfall in N. Carolina

Hurricane Florence's onslaught threatens disaster in North Carolina ‘Catastrophic’ flooding expected by NHC; Hurricane Florence eyewall now reaching North Carolina coast
Kenny Thornton | 15 September, 2018, 17:30

"These are folks who made a decision to stay and ride out the storm for whatever reason, despite having a mandatory evacuation", city public information officer Colleen Roberts said. The Army Corps of Engineers were preparing to start work restoring power, installing temporary roofing and removing debris. "There is overwash but nothing we are not used to", she said.

Hurricane Florence made landfall early Friday on North Carolina's coast, bringing extreme winds and massive storm surges as officials reported dozens of water rescues overnight. At Cape Lookout there were sustained winds of 83 miles per hour and gusts of 106.

"Damaging hurricane-force winds are occurring along portions of the North Carolina coast and are expected to spread to portions of the SC coast" later on Friday.

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

At 9 a.m. the center of the hurricane was about 55 miles east of Myrtle Beach. Restoring power to all customers could take weeks, it said.

More than 370,000 people were without power in North Carolina early on Friday, state officials said. We know how to manage expectations. He says that "over the years the state government and the federal government have become very coordinated in their ability to manage the pre-deployment of assets (and) the response to the citizens of those states, and we will soon be into the recovery".

Florence flattened trees, crumbled roads and knocked out power to three-quarters of a million homes and businesses, and the assault wasn't anywhere close to being over.

One city in North Carolina has picked up more than 23 inches (58 centimetres) of rain in two days.

"This rainfall will produce catastrophic flash flooding and prolonged significant river flooding", the National Hurricane Center briefing said.

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Amber Parker, a spokeswoman for Craven County, where New Bern is located, told CNN early Friday morning the county had already logged more than 100 service calls from residents trapped on their roofs or in their cars.

About 6.6 feet of inundation was reported by a US Geological Survey gauge in Emerald Isle. Hurricane-force winds extended 80 miles (130 km/h) from its centre, and tropical-storm-force winds reached out to 195 miles (315 km/h). High winds would also batter the same region for a much longer time than normal for a hurricane, adding to the likely damage and death toll.

The homes of about 10 million were under watches or warnings for the hurricane or tropical storm conditions.

More ominously, forecasters said the onslaught would last for hours and hours because Florence was barely creeping along at 6 mph (9 kph) and still drawing energy from the ocean.

"The rainfall is going to be the big impact for the area", Hawkins said.

But weather officials have cautioned that Florence's promise of heavy rains - and the flash flooding and prolonged flooding it will cause - likely will be the storm's most unsafe impact, especially since the storm surges will block the usual flow of water back to the ocean.

Hurricane Florence, weakened but still risky, crashed into the Carolinas on Friday as a giant, slow-moving storm that stranded residents with floodwaters and swamped part of the town of New Bern at the beginning of what could be a dayslong deluge.

Though Florence's shrieking winds diminished from hurricane force as it came ashore, forecasters said the sheer size of the 350-mile-wide storm and its painfully slow progress across North and SC in the coming days could leave much of the region under water.

The video below, taken in Wilmington, North Carolina, shows a large tree being split in half in Florence's winds.

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