Hurricane Florence begins to batter United States east coast

14 September, 2018, 13:28 | Author: Darnell Taylor

Hurricane Florence's outer edges have started to batter the coast of North Carolina - with winds of 100mph bending trees and shooting frothy seawater onto the streets.

As North Carolina residents began to feel the first modest effects of a weakened Hurricane Florence on Thursday, forecasters warned the powerful storm will bring seawater surging onto land and torrential downpours. The city said early Friday that two out-of-state FEMA teams were working on swift-water rescues and more teams were on the way. For a Category 2 storm, that means sustained winds of 154-177 km/h (96-110 mph).

As if the storm itself is not unsafe enough, it is expected to spawn tornadoes in southeast North Carolina on Thursday and Friday.

In the meantime, "treat the inland flooding just as seriously as you would the storm surge", said Clark. "Surviving this storm will be a test of endurance, teamwork, common sense and patience".

But while the storm is predicted to pass near Wilmington, North Carolina, the majority of surge-related flooding will actually be to north near Pamlico Sound.

More than 80,000 people were already without power as the storm began buffeting the coast, and more than 12,000 were in shelters. Another 400 people were in shelters in Virginia, where forecasts were less dire.

More than a million people along the coastlines of North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia have been told to leave. Another 8 million people live in areas covered by hurricane and tropical storm warnings.

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Roads and intersections on North Carolina's Outer Banks barrier islands were already inundated with water.

Over 1,400 flights have been cancelled, according to FlightAware.com, as most of the coastal region's airports are closed to ride out the storm.

As of 11 p.m., Florence was centered about 135 kilometer east-southeast of Wilmington, its forward movement slowed to 7 kph.

Florence's winds had dropped from a peak of 225km/h to 169km/h by Thursday, reducing the hurricane from a terrifying Category 4 to a 2.

A buoy off the North Carolina coast recorded waves almost 30 feet (9 meters) high as Florence churned toward shore.

Forecasters said conditions will deteriorate as the storm pushes ashore early Friday near the North Carolina-South Carolina line and makes its way slowly inland. And even though meteorologists sort storms into categories by the strength of their winds, it's actually the storm surge that's most unsafe, as AccuWeather reported. "Ever stared down the gaping eye of a category 4 hurricane?"

Luettich and colleagues at the University of Notre Dame and University of Texas spent 30 years developing ADCRIC, a computer model that gauges storm surge and other impacts of major coastal weather events. Officials from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (Fema) have warned that failure to do so could be potentially deadly.

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