Saturday, 20 October, 2018

Hurricane Florence: Four reasons to fear this storm

A man walks past a boarded up business before Hurricane Florence comes ashore in Wilmington North Carolina A man walks past a boarded up business before Hurricane Florence comes ashore in Wilmington North Carolina
Derrick Tucker | 17 September, 2018, 03:16

Blowing ashore with howling 90 miles per hour (155 kph) winds, Florence splintered buildings, trapped hundreds of people and swamped entire communities along the Carolina coast Friday in what could be just the opening act in a watery, two-part, slow-motion disaster.

Hurricane Florence has already proven to be not just powerful and destructive but wildly unpredictable.

Rain begins to fall as the outer bands of Hurricane Florence make landfall in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina on September 13, 2018.

Students who are affected by Hurricane Florence, including those at Northeastern's campuses in Boston, Charlotte, Seattle, Toronto, and Silicon Valley, are encouraged to use Northeastern's We Care program, which provides support to students during challenging times.

Several large trees had toppled in the city's historic district.

"WE ARE COMING TO GET YOU", the tweet said. So if you can leave, now would be a good time to go ahead and leave and you can always get back in.

The NHC warned the threat of tornadoes was increasing as Florence neared shore and South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster said the heavy rains could trigger landslides in the western part of his state.

A surge is also likely along portions of the SC coast.

Florence has been looming offshore, with its wind-speed fluctuating; on Thursday it was downgraded to a Category 2 storm from a Category 4.

It was unclear exactly how many people fled, but more than 1.7 million people in the Carolinas and Virginia were warned to clear out. "Today the threat becomes a reality", according to The Associated Press.

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Spanish moss waved in the trees as the winds picked up in Wilmington, and floating docks bounced atop swells at Morehead City. Rain projections also increased, with some locations along the North Carolina coast now expected to get up to 40 inches.

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Mass evacuations ordered as Hurricane Florence heads toward Carolinas
Up to 30 inches of rain could fall in isolated pockets across North Carolina, Virginia and northern SC through Saturday. In North Carolina the Outer Banks and in SC as of noon Tuesday - mandatory evacuations in eight coastal counties.

Cooper said 126 shelters are open across the state, with more than 12,000 people already staying at them, as of Thursday evening. In South Carolina there were 7,000 people staying in shelters.

Forecasters said that given the storm's size and sluggish track, it could cause epic damage akin to what the Houston area saw during Hurricane Harvey just over a year ago, with floodwaters swamping homes and businesses and washing over industrial waste sites and hog-manure ponds. The estimate does not include National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) inland flood losses - only storm surge related NFIP flood losses - as CoreLogic said it is too soon to tell what the potential rainfall, riverine and other flooding will amount to in order to tabulate losses for that peril. The primary road through town was mostly empty, except for police cars and emergency vehicles that appeared to be on patrol. Some of the few people still left in Nags Head on the Outer Banks took photos of angry waves topped with white froth.

"[We're] letting people know if they do choose to stay and the weather deteriorates, it's going to limit our [emergency] response", she said. That is enough water to fill the Empire State Building almost 40,000 times.

About 10 million people live in the path of the slow-moving storm and more than one million have been ordered to evacuate the coasts of the Carolinas and Virginia. "This is low tide, and it looks like high tide", she said.

"Do you want to get hit with a train or do you want to get hit with a cement truck?" said Jeff Byard, an administrator with the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

A mother and baby were killed after a tree fell on the family's Wilmington, NC house during the storm.

And yet another tropical storm formed in the Atlantic Thursday night.

Duke Energy Corp, the area's biggest utility with more than 4 million customers, estimated the storm could cause between 1 million and 3 million outages. But even so, Floyd dumped two feet of rain on North Carolina. Its forward movement increased slightly to 9 km/h Hurricane-force winds extended 150km from its centre.

The 3D footage released by the Weather Channel shows conditions in a surge of 3 to 9 feet of floodwaters, which the unsafe storm has threatened to bring.

Some evacuees who've been displaced since Tuesday were increasingly growing impatient and anxious as reports about where the storm would hit, and how hard, have changed. As the storm moves inland it will find a relatively flat area for hundreds of miles.

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