Five dead in Carolinas as Florence brings ´epic´ floods

Larry Hoffman
September 15, 2018

He said parts of North Carolina had seen storm surges - the bulge of seawater pushed ashore by the hurricane - as high as 10 feet.

Forecasters say although Florence is now a tropical storm, it will continue to threaten North and SC with powerful winds and catastrophic freshwater flooding.

Winds here are still expected to reach a maximum sustained speed of 60 to 70 miles per hour, with peaks reaching in the upper 80s in some Grand Strand regions.

At 5 p.m., Florence was centered about 50 miles (75 kilometers) west-southwest of Wilmington, North Carolina, and about 25 miles (45 kilometers) northeast of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. We will have tropical storm force winds and rain and storm surge continues to be our main concern with extreme flooding.

The Miami-based center says the center of the eye moved ashore with top sustained winds of 90 miles per hour (150 kph), making Florence a Category 1 hurricane in terms of wind intensity.

How many people will it affect?

About 10 million people could be affected by the storm and more than 1 million were ordered to evacuate the coasts of the Carolinas and Virginia, jamming westbound roads and highways for miles.

"We aren't going to try to restore power for quite some time, probably", Outlaw, the mayor, said.

Florence had been a Category 3 hurricane on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale with 120-mph winds as of Thursday, but dropped to a Category 1 hurricane before coming ashore.

"And it's just a Category 1 hurricane", Tarr said.

Life-threatening storm surge is being reported along the coast of the Carolinas.

Hurricane Florence crashed into the Carolinas on Friday, knocking down trees, swamping streets and causing four deaths before slowing to a pace that will lead to a days-long deluge for the region. Calls for help kept coming in as the wind picked up and the tide arrived, said city public information officer Colleen Roberts.

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

"It's an uninvited brute who doesn't want to leave", said North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper.

With Hurricane Florence pummeling the Eastern Seaboard, reporters are shooting outdoors in storm-drenched areas to show viewers at home just how serious the storm is. States of emergency have already been declared in both North and SC.

The storm is likely to bring significant rain to the Carolinas, where some places could see upwards of 20 inches, the update said.

Duke Energy Corp, the biggest utility in the area with over 4 million customers, estimated the storm could cause between 1 million and 3 million outages.

Trump faced severe criticism for his administration's response to Hurricane Maria previous year in Puerto Rico.

As Florence drew near, President Donald Trump tweeted that FEMA and first responders are "supplied and ready", and he disputed the official conclusion that almost 3,000 people died in Puerto Rico, claiming the figure was a Democratic plot to make him look bad.

"Well operate without power; we have candles".

Others were at home hoping for the best. "We have a safe basement and generator that comes on automatically".

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