Published: Sat, September 15, 2018
Worldwide | By Jermaine Blake

Hurricane Florence kills at least three people

Hurricane Florence kills at least three people

After reaching a terrifying Category 4 peak of 140 mph earlier in the week, Florence made landfall as a Category 1 hurricane at 7:15 a.m.at Wrightsville Beach, a few miles east of Wilmington and not far from the SC line.

The storm made landfall earlier on Friday just outside Wilmington, bringing life-threatening storm surge and hurricane force winds. Footage posted on social media showed a meteorologist saying on air that they had to evacuate.

Friday morning, the heart of Hurricane Florence was just off the North Carolina coast, according to the National Hurricane Service. A storm surge of more than nine feet is expected to be caused from the hurricane, covering cars, street signs and homes.

Eudy and his family stayed home in New Bern partly to protect their house.

The Triangle Motor Inn, at 246 Wilmington Highway in Jacksonville, was seriously damaged by winds from Hurricane Florence early Friday, forcing several dozen guests to evacuate.

Florence's leading edge whipped the Carolina coast on Thursday to begin an onslaught that could last for days, leaving a wide area under water from both heavy downpours and rising seas. Florence is nearing the coast and is now a Cat 2 Hurricane.

While wind speeds dropped Thursday, forecasters reminded people that what makes Florence extremely risky are the potentially deadly storm surges, the expected mammoth coastal flooding and historic rainfall.

Hurricane Florence, one of the most powerful storms ever to strike the USA mainland, came ashore early Friday morning north of Wilmington, North Carolina.

The category 1 hurricane is packing peak winds of 90 miles per hour (150 km/h).

"It's not going to take much in a lot of these areas to saturate the soil, so trees are going to come down really easily" and knock down power lines, said Ken Graham, director of the National Hurricane Center.

More than 415,000 homes and businesses were without power, mostly in North Carolina, according to poweroutage.us, which tracks the nation's electrical grid.

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A gust of 105 miles per hour (169 kph) was recorded at the Wilmington airport, surpassing the power of Hurricane Fran two decades ago.

Top winds were holding at 90 miles per hour - that's just a Category 1 hurricane - but some communities were already submerged in more than six feet of water as the storm drenched the coast.

At least a foot of rain has already occurred even before the landfall with inundations along with some parts observing power outages.

Hurricane Irma destroyed Kathy Griffin's house in Florida a year ago, and it could be days before she finds out whether Florence smashed her fifth-story condominium in Wrightsville Beach, where authorities said utilities could be out for days or weeks.

Sample said that when he looked outside of his house, which is about 1,000 yards from the beach, he saw the rain pooling up on the street and what looked like storm surge coming up the road.

In South Carolina, more than 200 animals are riding out Hurricane Florence at a pet sanctuary.

Location of Florence: By 7:35 a.m. Friday, the hurricane was about 5 miles (55 km) east of Wilmington and was crawling at 6 mph (9 kmh).

David Rankin shared a photo of the Cajun Navy helping save people from the floods in New Bern. Winds will be increasing in the Piedmont Triad tonight and tomorrow with some of the wind gusts possibly approaching tropical storm strength. The last Category 4 storm to come out of the Atlantic and strike the North Carolina coast head-on was Hazel in 1954, the most destructive previous event in that region.

"Either no (hotel) rooms are available, or we are denied because the breed or size of dogs", she said. The city said two FEMA teams were working on swift-water rescues and more were on the way.

None of the people rescued were injured.

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