Published: Sat, September 15, 2018
Science | By Michele Flores

More than 20,000 on NC coast already without power from Florence gusts

More than 20,000 on NC coast already without power from Florence gusts

Florence's maximum sustained winds were clocked on Thursday at 105 miles per hour (165 kph) after it was downgraded to a Category 2 on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale, according to the NHC.

As Hurricane Florence begins to hammer the Carolinas, a few fliers managed to escape the storms path, arriving at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport Thursday just before the hurricane is predicted to made landfall. As The Weather Channel noted, storm surges of nine feet or higher could be catastrophic, powerful enough to move cars and cover the first floor of buildings.

Florence is widely seen as a test for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), whose capabilities were stretched thin a year ago as it responded to three major hurricanes.

More than 60 people had to be pulled from a collapsing motel at the height of the storm, and many more who defied evacuation orders were hoping to be rescued. There's a Tropical Storm Warning for the I-95 corridor there too.

Once a Category 4 hurricane with winds of 140 miles per hour (225 kph), the hurricane was downgraded to a Category 1 on Thursday night.

"I'm not anxious at all", said Richard Ford, 34, smoking a cigarette outside one of Wilmington's five shelters.

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

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. Millions of people were expected to lose power from the storm and restoration could take weeks.

Surges up to 4 meters could inundate Cape Fear, North Carolina to Cape Lookout, North Carolina, with smaller surges ranging from half a meter to 3 meters in coastal areas from Edisto Beach, South Carolina to coastal areas extending north into North Carolina. We have to remember, Florence is a very large storm.

But North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper warned: "Don't relax, don't get complacent".

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Hurricane Florence Could Bring Up To 30 Inches Of Rain To Carolinas
Nearly 160,000 customers already were without power in North Carolina Thursday evening - and that number is likely to rise. A buoy off the North Carolina coast recorded waves almost 30 feet (9 meters) high as Florence churned toward shore.

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More than 10 feet of storm surge is expected to hit some areas in North Carolina and SC, triggered by Florence.

More than 10 million people are under watches and warnings, the Associated Press reported.

Storm surge warnings were issued from South Santee River in SC to Duck, North Carolina. Residents are still recovering from Hurricane Matthew and communities with financial struggles are slow to rebuild after a major disaster.

Keep battery-operated flashlights and radios, medications, water and food on hand, Hayes said. They also have three dogs and three parrots.

"We immediately gave up our hotel rooms so that more rooms are now available to those coming inland", Hunt said.

Almost 2 million coastal residents are now under mandatory evacuation orders, although it remains unclear how many have actually done so.

Coastal towns in the Carolinas were largely empty, and schools and businesses closed as far south as Georgia.

Wilmington resident Julie Terrell said she was concerned after walking to breakfast past a row of shops fortified with boards, sandbags and hurricane shutters.

Despite reassurances from FEMA and Trump, Florence's fluctuations and course-change predictions have added to the difficulties of preparing for such a massive storm.

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