Science

Florence slams North and SC coast

Florence slams North and SC coast

More than 125,000 customers were without power Friday as Hurricane Florence arrived in Wilmington with full force, bringing wind, storm surges and historic rain.

More than 60 people had to be pulled from a collapsing cinderblock motel at the height of the storm.

The giant, 400-mile-wide hurricane unloaded heavy rain, flattened trees, chewed up roads and knocked out power to more than 600,000 homes and businesses.

Roy Cooper said another person was killed in Lenoir County, reports WTVD.

The hurricane was "wreaking havoc" and could wipe out entire communities as it makes its "violent grind across our state for days", the governor said.

Forecasters warned of catastrophic flooding and other mayhem from the monster storm, which is only Category 1 but physically sprawling and risky.

A mother and baby were killed when a tree fell on a house, according to a tweet from Wilmington police. National Hurricane Center meteorologist Joel Cline said the mountains will wring water out of the moist tropical air: "It's like running into a wall, and that moisture has to go somewhere, and it goes up, creates rain, and you have torrential rain in that area".

Still, he said: "I feel like the dumbest human being who ever walked the face of the earth".

More than a million people fled the Carolinas and Virginia as Category 1 Hurricane Florence neared. It came ashore along a mostly boarded-up, emptied-out stretch of coastline.

Florence had been a Category 3 hurricane with 120 miles per hour winds on Thursday but dropped to Category 1 before coming ashore.

There is really nowhere for the water to go. However, instead of rainfall spread over 14 days, Florence will dump it all in three days.

The National Hurricane Center said a gauge north of Wilmington in Emerald Isle, North Carolina, reported 1.92 metres of inundation. Other communities got well over a foot.

SCV/Christopher Collura via ABC News/Twitter; Chip Somodevilla/GettyA composite image shows a gas station canopy being dismantled by high winds in Topsail Beach, North Carolina, and residents wading through flooded streets in New Bern, North Carolina.




Environmental regulators are monitoring more than three dozen toxic waste sites in the path of Hurricane Florence, as well as scores of low-lying water- and sewage-treatment plants at risk of flooding.

The hurricane was seen as a major test for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which was heavily criticized as slow and unprepared for Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico a year ago.

The National Hurricane Centre said Florence will eventually make a right turn to the north east over the southern Appalachians, moving into the mid-Atlantic states and New England as a tropical depression by the middle of next week.

Forecasters say Florence is now a tropical storm but will continue to threaten North and SC with powerful winds and catastrophic freshwater flooding. That's enough to fill the Chesapeake Bay or cover the entire state of Texas with almost 10cm of water, he calculated.

The rain began again about 1 p.m. Friday, with forecasters predicting the region will see another 25 inches of rain overnight into Saturday.

Coastal streets flowed with frothy ocean water and tens of thousands lost electricity.

A wind gust at the Wilmington airport was clocked at 105 miles per hour (169 kph), the highest since Hurricane Helene in 1958.

Editor's Note: A previous version of this article reported two deaths in Carteret County, North Carolina. Flooding also hit the Bogue Sound near Beaufort, the Pungo River at Belhaven and the Pamlico River at Washington.

"WE ARE COMING TO GET YOU", the tweet said. "You may need to move up to the second story, or to your attic, but WE ARE COMING TO GET YOU", the authorities in New Bern said on Twitter. In order to combat any outages, Duke Energy has gotten more than 10,000 of their own employees on standby and requested and received assistance for more than 2,000 workers from other states not being hit by the hurricane.

"We're very familiar in Columbia with the flooding of 2015", McMaster said.

The storm has only just made land and still has the power to continue to move inland despite its deflated category, which means that it is incredibly likely that even more people will continue to lose power in both states.

The family was trapped for several hours as firefighters tried to rescue them.


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