Near 440,000 without power as Florence batters Carolinas

14 September, 2018, 16:26 | Author: Darnell Taylor

The US east coast girded for a battering from Hurricane Florence late Thursday as the monster storm's outer edge began lashing the Carolinas with heavy wind and rain, which forecasters warned could trigger life-threatening floods even as it further weakened.

Hurricane-force winds began whipping North Carolina as federal emergency management officials warned that the hurricane remained a "very unsafe storm" capable of wreaking havoc along a wide swathe of the coast.

As of 8 a.m., the hurricane is predicted to make landfall along the coast of the Carolinas tomorrow (Sept. 14), according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Hurricane Center. The storm was moving west-northwest at 10 miles per hour with winds that have decreased significantly to 100 miles per hour.

But North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper warned: "Don't relax, don't get complacent". Residents should expect to see higher tides than usual on the James and York rivers, as well as possible flooding and beach erosion.

More than 60 people, including many children and pets, were evacuated from a hotel in Jacksonville, North Carolina, after strong winds caused parts of the roof to collapse, local officials said.

Hundreds of thousands of people have evacuated the coast, more than 1500 U.S. flights have been cancelled, factories were shut and farmers rushed to save crops, poultry and pigs in anticipation of the storm.

Footage shows a pier and a beach in Nags Head, North Carolina, being hit with heavy surf as the storm rolls into the area.

More than 370,000 people were without power in North Carolina early on Friday, state officials said.

Cooper requested additional federal disaster assistance in anticipation of what his office called "historic major damage" across the state.

Up to 10 million people lie in the path of the storm, which still poses a risk to life and property, although it has been downgraded to a Category 2 hurricane.

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More than 12,000 were in shelters in North Carolina and 400 people in Virginia, where forecasts were less dire.

Due to unusual steering patterns in the atmosphere, Florence may crawl southward down the Southeast coast, the opposite direction storms usually travel.

Avair Vereen, 39, took her seven children to a shelter in Conway High School near Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

Wild horses in the Rachel Carson Reserve in Beaufort, North Carolina will fend for themselves during Hurricane Florence.

On Thursday evening, Florence's forward movement was just 5mph.

Another Wilmington resident said she does not want to leave because she is afraid to see what she would be coming back to.

He said hurricane-force winds extend outward 80 miles from the centre of the storm and tropical storm-force winds extend almost 200 miles out.

Though earlier in the week there were fears that the storm could make landfall as a Category 5 hurricane, Florence was downgraded to a Category 1 on Thursday night.

Coastal streets were inundated with ocean water, causing damage to dozens of homes and businesses, officials said.

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

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