Hurricane Florence is a "horrific nightmare" for meteorologists tracking the storm

Olive Hawkins
September 14, 2018

Florence's winds had dropped from a peak of 140 miles per hour to 105 miles per hour by Thursday, reducing the hurricane from a terrifying Category 4 to a 2.

Scientists hypothesize that a warmer world will bring slower storms, so what we saw last year with Harvey - and now this year with Florence - could be a sign of those changes.

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. The National Weather Service said about 5.25 million people live in areas under hurricane warnings or watches, and 4.9 million in places covered by tropical storm warnings or watches.

The fierce winds of Hurricane Florence are weakening as it creeps closer to North Carolina but the impact of the huge storm will still be catastrophic for millions of people. Hurricane-force winds extended 80 miles (130 kilometers) from its center, and tropical-storm-force winds up to 195 miles (315 kilometers).

A clip from the Weather Channel has gotten a lot of attention today for the way the channel is informing viewers about the dangers of storm surge as Hurricane Florence hits.

Baltimore County officials said Thursday that they placed emergency personnel on "high alert" should there be flooding and outages, and urged residents to make preparations just in case.

"I'm not approaching Florence from fear or panic", said Brad Corpening, 35, who planned to ride out the storm in his boarded-up delicatessen in Wilmington.

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Watch live streaming video of Hurricane Florence rolling into North Carolina
Duke Energy Corp expected between 25 percent and 75 percent of its 4 million customers would lose power in the Carolinas. For the first time, researchers have calculated the impact of climate change on a hurricane before the storm is over.

To put the rain in perspective, Wilmington's three-day rainfall record was 19.66 inches set in 2010, said Jordan Baker, a meteorologist with the NWS Wilmington office.

"It will be historic", Baker said of the rain from Florence.

Baker said the rain will bring damaging flash flooding to all areas of the Wilmington region, not just low-lying areas that are particularly vulnerable.

"It's going to be bad", said Woody White, chairman of the New Hanover County Commissioners. "It will probably fall faster than it can leave". The storm's 12-mph speed Thursday morning was a marked drop from Wednesday's 17-mph speeds.

"The American Integrated Operations Center (IOC) in Fort Worth, Texas, continues to closely monitor the track of these storms, and is closely coordinating with the National Weather Service, Federal Aviation Administration and local airports", American Airlines announced in a statement. "Significant river flooding is expected as a result of excessive rainfall across area hydrologic basins". It is still considered unsafe with potential for strong winds and hazardous flooding.

Navarro concluded by emphasizing again that this is a serious life-threatening situation and people need to be evacuating. As serene as the images are, it's hard to imagine what conditions are like in the storm and on the water under it. As the storm moves inland, Georgia, Virginia and Maryland will also be in peril. On Thursday morning, South 17th Street, usually teeming with commuter traffic by 6:30 a.m., was almost devoid of cars. Spokesman Howard Fowler said restoration could take "weeks instead of days", even though 20,000 workers, including crews from outside the area, were standing by.

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