Near 440,000 without power as Florence batters Carolinas

Olive Hawkins
September 14, 2018

Hurricane-force winds extended 90 miles (150 kilometers) from its center, and tropical-storm-force winds up to 195 miles (315 kilometers).

"We know we're in for a long haul here", Cooper said of predictions that the storm will linger over the area.

Amber Parker, spokesperson for Craven County, North Carolina, tells Here & Now's Jeremy Hobson that officials are happy to have daylight on their side Friday.

"A storm surge warning means there is a danger of life-threatening inundation, from rising water moving inland from the coastline". But Outlaw said on Friday morning it's "not a bad idea to get in your vehicle and get west of I-95" if residents feel they can safely do so.

"From Wilmington to Charlotte, we'll experience between a 500-year and 1,000-year flood event", Trogdon warned in a late-morning briefing.

A state of emergency has been declared in five coastal states - North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Maryland and Virginia.

"Very eerie, the wind howling, the rain blowing sideways, debris flying", said Orsa, who lives nearby and feared splintering trees would pummel her house.

The city warned that people "may need to move up to the second story" but told them to stay put as 'we are coming to get you'. Cooper said he hopes more shelters will also open today.

U.S. Southeast power companies said over 634,000 homes and businesses located mostly in North Carolina and SC were without power on Friday after Hurricane Florence hit the coast. "This rainfall would produce catastrophic flash flooding and prolonged significant river flooding", the Hurricane Center said. Officials say anyone who has not heeded mandatory evacuation orders is on his or her own.

There's still a threat from rising tides, Risty-Davis says.

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Video reports from several towns in the Carolinas showed emergency personnel wading through thigh-high water in residential neighbourhoods.

Almost 300,000 customers in North Carolina were meanwhile reported to be without power as the outer band of the storm approached.

A gust of 105 miles per hour (169 kph) was recorded at the Wilmington airport, surpassing the power of Hurricane Fran two decades ago.

Hurricane Florence slowed dramatically as it approached shallower waters along the coast, dropping from a Category 4 hurricane with 130 miles per hour (209 km/h) winds on Wednesday (Sept. 12) to a Category 2 Thursday. It will likely weaken more on Friday, with "rapid weakening forecast over the weekend", the hurricane center said. Beyond Friday's torrential rain, multi-foot storm surge and widespread power outages, Florence will continue to batter the region through early next week.

The Weather Channel produced a terrifying Hurricane Florence weather forecast using a visualization to show the horrifying reality of what 9-foot flood waters might look like in North Carolina.

However, forecasters say the storm's biggest threat is how much rain it is expected to produce.

With the hurricane beginning to batter North Carolina, the state's Governor has asked US President Donald Trump for another federal disaster declaration beyond what he declared earlier this week. Thousands of soldiers from their National Guard forces have been mobilized.

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.

Wilmington should be ready for a prolonged and devastating impact as Hurricane Florence roars over Southeastern North Carolina on Friday.

Yes, because it's bringing a voluminous amount of rain, and by lingering it creates worse flooding. The storm made landfall at around 7:15 a.m. ET near Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina.

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