Published: Thu, September 13, 2018
Science | By Michele Flores

Hurricane Florence Loses Steam, but Shifting Forecast Predicts Huge Rainfall

Hurricane Florence Loses Steam, but Shifting Forecast Predicts Huge Rainfall

"We're kind of at the mercy of the storm".

Reports out of Wilmington, North Carolina, said that the outer bands of wind and rain from Florence, a Category 2 storm with 105 miles per hour winds, are hitting North Carolina.

A new high-definition video and photos taken from the International Space Station show the size of scope of Hurricane Florence, a Category 4 storm heading toward landfall in the Southeast U.S. later this week. "The ocean is going to start rising", he said, warning that flooding would occur "within a matter of hours". Florence's center will approach the North and SC coasts late Thursday and Friday.

Life-threatening storm surges of up to 13 feet were also forecast in some areas along with the possibility of tornadoes in North Carolina.

National Guard soldiers from the state, North Carolina and Virginia are mobilizing to prepare for hurricane recovery efforts.

The massive storm is larger than North Carolina and South Carolina - combined, according to South Carolina Emergency Management. The forecast track has the storm stalling along the coast throughout Friday and into Saturday.

Kourounis and Robinson have seen their share of hurricanes, many of them together. It's already been raining in these areas and the ground is sodden.

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And then there's the major slowdown that's expected: as of Thursday, Florence was moving roughly 17 km/h, but once it makes landfall, it's expected to nearly stall, with its forward speed dropping to just 9 km/h or less. This shift to the south certainly brings Charlotte into play for much heavier rainfall, and I think that's going to be the biggest issue that we're going to have to deal with in the Charlotte area is soaking heavy rains that could fall not only over a day but maybe several days after landfall.

The bottom line is that damage from winds and the storm surge is likely to be more typical of past hurricanes, but the freshwater flooding still looks to create major property damage, which could lead to loss of life if residents haven't heeded the warnings of their local officials. Forecasters are also tracking two other disturbances.

An estimated 10 million people live in the storm's path, according to the U.S. Weather Prediction Center, and coastal businesses and homes were boarded up in anticipation.

The surge will result in "large areas of deep inundation. enhanced by battering waves", the Weather Service said.

Emergency declarations were in force in Georgia, South and North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia.

By late Thursday afternoon, the Carolina coasts can expect winds topping 80 miles per hour. Many shallowly rooted trees will be snapped or uprooted and block numerous roads.

Duke Energy said Florence, a Category 2 storm, could knock out electricity to three-quarters of its 4 million customers in the Carolinas, and outages could last for weeks. "The combination of a risky storm surge and the tide will cause normally dry areas near the coast to be flooded by rising waters moving inland from the shoreline".

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