Hurricane Florence: What we know and what to expect

Jo Lloyd
September 17, 2018

A now-weakened Category 2 storm, Hurricane Florence still is expected to be "extremely dangerous" and "life threatening", the National Hurricane Center said.

As Florence churned slowly towards the coasts of North and SC as a Category 2 hurricane, federal and state officials issued final appeals to residents to get out of the path of the "once in a lifetime" weather system.

Storm surge triggered by Hurricane Florence could be seen slamming into a house on stilts in Nag's Head, North Carolina, on September 13.

The National Weather Service office in Newport, North Carolina, in a tweet called the storm surge "catastrophic".

Conditions are rapidly deteriorating along the coast of the Carolinas as Florence approaches.

Roads and intersections on North Carolina's Outer Banks barrier islands were inundated. South Carolina's state capital Columbia is at only 89m (292ft).

"We're prepared", Kilbourne said.

"Once we get up into that six foot range, look at how high this water goes", Navarro said while standing in front of a towering wall of water. "But we can't replace us so we made a decision to come here".

"Florence is forecast to make landfall near Cape Fear, North Carolina, as a Category 2 or Category 1 storm Friday morning".

The public started reporting scattered power outages as early as Wednesday afternoon, when the first gusts of Florence buffeted the state, and the numbers have climbed sharply as the storm worked its way through North Carolina. Hurricane-force winds now extend outward up to 70 miles the center and tropical-storm-force winds now extend outward up to 195 miles from the center. Forecasters are predicting as much as 40in of rain in some localized areas.

The hurricane center said the large amount of rainfall "will produce catastrophic flash flooding and prolonged significant river flooding".

With South Carolina's beach towns more in the bull's-eye because of the shifting forecast, OH vacationers Chris and Nicole Roland put off their departure from North Myrtle Beach to get the maximum amount of time on the sand.

"This is a very unsafe storm", said FEMA's Long, urging people still in evacuation zones to heed orders to flee to safer ground.

Todd Kaplan, Northeastern's emergency operations manager, said that the Northeastern University Police Department and the Facilities Division are coordinating with weather forecasters and emergency managers to provide timely updates and keep tabs on students and their family members who are in the path of the storm.

Long said the danger was not only along the coast.

"We've seen fatalities and deaths from tropical storms, from Category 1 storms and from Category 2 storms", SCEMD's Becker said.

One resident from Myrtle Beach, a popular SC destination for tourists, told CNN: "We're well prepared".

In Virginia, 245,000 coastal residents were ordered to evacuate.

Washington, DC, Mayor Muriel Bowser and the governors of North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Georgia and Maryland have declared states of emergency.

Earlier Duke Energy said it expects between 1 million and 3 million customers to be without electricity at the height of the storm.

Officials say anyone who has not heeded mandatory evacuation orders is on his own. But even so, Floyd dumped two feet of rain on North Carolina. A 78-year-old man was electrocuted attempting to connect extension cords while another man died when he was blown down by high winds while checking on his hunting dogs, a county spokesman said.

"I'm not leaving my child", Foster said.

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