Hurricane Florence swamps Carolinas, threatening record rainfall, punishing winds

14 September, 2018, 23:14 | Author: Tara Reeves
  • S Coastal residents leave creative notes for Florence

As the giant, 644km/hr hurricane pounded away, it unloaded heavy rain, flattened trees, chewed up roads and knocked out power to more than 600,000 homes and businesses. The military has the benefit of using its own bases, such as Fort Bragg in North Carolina, to pre-position relief supplies and equipment. Some 3,000 people died in the aftermath of that storm.

Inland flooding near New Bern, North Carolina caused by Hurricane Florence's storm surge as predicted by the ADCIRC computer model.

"This rainfall will produce catastrophic flash flooding and prolonged significant river flooding", the hurricane center said.

The powerful Category 1 storm is making its way south along the Carolina coast hours after making technical landfall early Friday morning.

One report was of a 10-foot surge in New Bern, North Carolina, the National Weather Service said.

Defense Secretary James Mattis activated dual-status commanders in North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia to command and control active duty and National Guard forces. The few cars out on a main street in Wilmington had to swerve to avoid fallen trees, metal debris and power lines.

According to forecasters, the center of Florence is expected to hit North Carolina's southern coast Friday, then drift southwest before moving inland on Saturday.

She tweeted: "Wind Gusts at Wilmington Intl Airport reached 92 miles per hour, the highest wind gust since Hurricane Donna hit September 11, 1960".

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The downtown area of the city of 30,000 people was underwater and around 150 people were waiting to be rescued, city authorities said on Twitter. The highest numbers are being reported in New Hanover County.

Still, he said: "I feel like the dumbest human being who ever walked the face of the earth".

Cooper said 108 shelters are open across the state, with more than 7,000 people already staying at them, as of Thursday afternoon.

The wind howled and sheets of rain splattered against windows of a hotel before dawn in Wilmington, where Sandie Orsa of Wilmington sat in a lobby lit by emergency lights after the power failed.

President Donald Trump has said protecting lives is his "absolute highest priority" and that the White House is standing by to offer affected states whatever help they request.

More than 1.7 million people in the Carolinas and Virginia were warned to evacuate, but it is not clear how many left.

Unlike the island of Puerto Rico, where there was no land access, convoys of electrical fix vehicles from all over the country are driving into various points in the Southeastern U.S. - just outside where the "hurricane will have the most impact, ready to go in", Rapuano told reporters Thursday at the Pentagon.

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