'Historic storm' lashes Carolinas with heavy rain, floods

17 September, 2018, 03:08 | Author: Kelly Sanders
  • Hurricane Florence is more than just the latest disaster for FEMA. It's a new opportunity for an agency widely criticized after Hurricane Maria

As Americans in North and SC begin to feel the effects of Hurricane Florence, The Weather Channel has reminded viewers of how unsafe storm surges can be.

Hurricane Florence's leading edge battered the Carolina coast Thursday, bending trees and shooting frothy sea water over streets on the Outer Banks, as the hulking storm closed in with 100 miles per hour winds for a drenching siege that could last all weekend.

The hurricane's storm surge - the wall of water it pushed in from the Atlantic - "overwhelmed" the town of New Bern at the confluence of the Neuse and Trent rivers, North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper said.

With more than 1,500 commercial airline flights in and out of the Carolinas canceled - and potentially many more to come - even the skies above sat empty, except for Florence's foreboding cloud cover and rapidly strengthening rain.

But Brock Long, the administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, has warned residents to take the storm seriously no matter what the category.

A Storm Surge Warning is in effect for.

Florence's top winds were clocked on Thursday evening at 90 miles per hour (150 km/h) as it churned in the Atlantic Ocean, down from a peak of 140 miles per hour (224 km/h) earlier this week when it was classified as a Category 4 storm before being downgraded. The Outer Banks of North Carolina took the initial brunt Thursday afternoon, with parts of Highway 12 - the main road that runs through Ocracoke and Hatteras islands - flooding and becoming impassable. South Carolina's state capital Columbia is at only 89m (292ft).

The outer bands of Hurricane Florence began battering the coast of North and South Carolina Thursday with strong winds and rain.

"We live in a mobile home so we were just like 'No way, '" she said. "I want it to really start and get it over with so we know if people are going to be safe".

Hurricane Florence made its swipe at Wilmington Friday, cutting power to thousands and priming eastern North Carolina for major flooding in the days ahead. Hurricane-force winds extended 90 miles (150 kilometers) from its center, and tropical-storm-force winds up to 195 miles (315 kilometers).

"This rainfall will produce catastrophic flash flooding and prolonged significant river flooding", NHC said. Virginia, in fact, has issued mandatory evacuations for coastal areas of the state.

"Your time is running out", he warned. Forecasters said "catastrophic" freshwater flooding was expected along waterways far from the coast of the Carolinas.

"We have lots of water, we've got lots of food, lots of canned food, non-perishable food", she said.

SC ordered the mandatory evacuation of one million coastal residents while North Carolina ordered an evacuation of the Outer Banks, barrier islands that are a popular tourist destination.

In Virginia, 245,000 coastal residents were told to flee.

Meteorologist Ryan Maue of weathermodels.com said Florence could dump a staggering 18 trillion gallons (68 trillion liters) of rain over a week on North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky and Maryland.

Duke Energy said the hurricane could knock out electricity to three-quarters of its 4 million customers in the Carolinas, and outages could last for weeks. Listen to local officials, and make sure you heed their advice.

Antonio Ramirez, a construction worker from El Salvador living in Leland, North Carolina, said he planned to ride out the storm with his dog Canelo. They died when a large tree came down over the back of their home, crushing and killing them while leaving the child's father hospitalized Friday morning.


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    Officials said some 1.7 million people in the Carolinas and Virginia were warned to evacuate, but it's unclear how many did. Forecasters said "catastrophic" freshwater flooding was expected along waterways far from the coast of the Carolinas.

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