Hurricane Florence down to Category 1 but up to no good

Olive Hawkins
September 14, 2018

Flooding from Hurricane Florence swept across the Carolinas early on Friday as the massive storm surged toward the coast, threatening record rainfall and leaving scores trapped by rising waters.

Forecasters said that given the storm's size and sluggish track, it could cause epic damage akin to what the Houston area saw during Hurricane Harvey just over a year ago, with floodwaters swamping homes and businesses and washing over industrial waste sites and hog-manure ponds.

New Hanover County officials said Thursday morning that it could accept more residents seeking shelter at Trask Middle School, Eaton Elementary School, Codington Elementary School, the Johnson Pre-K Center and Noble Middle School. The storm was a risky Category 4 hurricane Wednesday but was downgraded Thursday night to a Category 1 storm. Wilmington is now experiencing winds at 85 miles per hour.

Winds and rain were arriving later in SC, and a few people were still walking on the sand at Myrtle Beach while North Carolina was getting pounded. Stay on guard. This is a powerful storm that can kill. "Today, the threat becomes a reality". As many as 1.5 million people are believed to live within mandatory evacuation zones.

North Carolina governor Roy Cooper warned: "Don't relax, don't get complacent". It's now pummeling the coast of North Carolina with 90mph winds and heavy rain, the CNN reported Friday.

"We're still going to get catastrophic inland flooding from heavy rains and multibillion-dollar storm-surge damage along the coast where it hits, " said Jeff Masters, co-founder of Weather Underground in Ann Arbor, Michigan. "I am frightened about what's coming. We just want prayers from everyone".

North Carolina's Emergency Management tweeted that more than 154,000 homes were already without electricity by late Thursday. The main highway in the Outer Banks was closed in parts as seawater pushed in.

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Water kills more people in hurricanes than wind, and he said it will still be an extremely unsafe storm for rain and storm surge. Businesses, online groups and other individuals also offered assistance to evacuees. "More are on the way to help us".

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NewsHour has also published maps of flooding predictions for the coast. Storm surge of 13 feet on top of a high tide at 7 feet could overwhelm Carolina Beach.

Sand bags surround homes on North Topsail Beach, N.C., Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2018, as Hurricane Florence threatens the coast.

Florence should weaken to a tropical storm after 24 hours and then to below tropical storm strength after 48 hours. Surrounding states like Georgia, Virginia, West Virginia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio, and even Pennsylvania will receive heavy rain at the end of the weekend and into next week as well.

The storm will be a test of President Donald Trump's administration less than two months before elections to determine control of Congress.

Just as Hurricane Florence closes in on the Southeast, the area covered by hurricane-force winds has doubled - meaning far more people will get blasted with winds 74 miles per hour or greater.

Federal agencies from the Army Corps of Engineers to the Environmental Protection Agency said they had people near the storm's path to help after the hurricane hit.

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