Florence downgraded to tropical storm just 50 miles off coast

16 September, 2018, 19:14 | Author: Kelly Sanders
  • Park flooded with rising water

Florence's eyewall reached shore near Wilmington, N.C., just before 6 a.m. ET Friday; more than an hour later, the National Hurricane Center announced, it had "finally" made landfall near Wrightsville Beach.

Forecasters say it is especially unsafe after dark because people trying to escape may not realize how deep flood water is on roads.

Some parts of North Carolina have already seen surges as high as 10ft (3m) in places.

About 10 million people could be affected by the storm and more than one million were ordered to evacuate the coasts of the Carolinas and Virginia, jamming westbound roads and highways for miles.

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

Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 35 miles (55 kilometers) from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 170 miles (280 kilometers).

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper told a news conference that whole communities "could be wiped away".

The storm is expected to track across SC over the weekend.

In Jacksonville, North Carolina, officials had rescued more than 60 people overnight from a hotel that was collapsing in the storm.


The state's transportation secretary, James Trogdon, said the state may see "flood events" that normally only occur once every 1,000 years.

Shaken after seeing waves crashing in the Neuse River just outside his house in the town of New Bern, hurricane veteran Tom Ballance wished he had evacuated.

New Zealand's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade has advised that there are now 96 New Zealanders officially registered with SafeTravel as being in Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia. The agency adds that people trapped by flooding should "never enter attics or crawl spaces".

Sustained wind speeds were clocked at 50 miles per hour with higher gusts.

Duke said it had more than 20,000 personnel ready to start fixing outages as soon as conditions allowed, including over 8,000 from Duke's Carolinas utilities, 1,700 from the Midwest, 1,200 from Florida and 9,400 from other utilities. "Our meteorologists are saying that the rainfall amounts will be devastating in certain areas", he said Thursday.

A 68-year-old man and his wife died in a house fire in Cumberland County, NC on Friday, according to a release from the NC State Emergency Response team. It will likely weaken more on Friday, with "rapid weakening forecast over the weekend", the hurricane center said.

Florence is expected to dump several feet of rain on the Carolinas as she makes a slow push inland over the next few days.

North Carolina Army National Guard soldiers were sent to a home along the 100 block of El Nora Lane in Otway, North Carolina, on Friday in reference to two deaths there.

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