Published: Fri, September 14, 2018
Research | By Raquel Erickson

Carolinas coastal residents wait, watch as Florence's fury begins

Carolinas coastal residents wait, watch as Florence's fury begins

Landfall is expected late Thursday or early Friday, and the National Hurricane Center fears the storm "will slow considerably or stall, leading to a prolonged and exceptionally heavy and risky rainfall event Friday-Sunday".

The storm was a unsafe Category 4 hurricane Wednesday but has been downgraded to a Category 2 storm Thursday.

Rainfall will accumulate near 2 feet in North Carolina.

"The deepest water will occur along the immediate coast in areas of onshore winds, where the surge will be accompanied by large and destructive waves". Some regions are expected to receive more than 20 inches of rain from the hurricane and its giant knot of storm clouds. "It's going to take 24 hours to go 60 miles", McMullen says, "and with that slow forward speed we're looking at rain rates 2-4 inches an hour".

Outer bands of wind and rain from Hurricane Florence have begun lashing North Carolina as the monster storm moves nearer to the coast.

The US National Hurricane Center warned that "life-threatening, catastrophic flash flooding and prolonged significant river flooding are likely over portions of the Carolinas and the southern and central Appalachians".

There will be hurricane-force winds up to 80 miles from the centre of the storm, meteorologists say. Tropical-storm-force winds are between 39 and 73 miles per hour. NASA/Handout via REUTERS " Pray for Wilmington" is seen on boarded up windows ahead of the arrival of Hurricane Florence in Wilmington, North Carolina, U.S., September 12, 2018.

"For a meandering storm, the biggest concern - as we saw with Harvey - is the huge amount of rainfall", said Chris Landsea, chief of tropical analysis and forecast branch at the National Hurricane Center.

"The storm surge forecast associated with this storm has not changed".


Florence's weakening as it neared the coast created tension between some who left home and authorities who anxious that the storm could still be deadly.

Preceded first by the storm surge and the winds, heavy rains were picking up as of late Thursday afternoon, the beginning of an onslaught that for some areas may not relent for days.

The first large power outage in the Wilmington area also occurred Thursday morning, with the Duke outage map showing almost 1,400 customers in the Acme-Delco area of Columbus County and northwest Brunswick County without power.

The storm's center was about 145 miles (235 km) east of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina as of Thursday night.

In the North Carolina town of Wilmington, which could take a direct hit from Florence, wind gusts were stirring up frothy white caps into the Cape Fear River. "Please heed the warnings", Mr Brock said: "Your time is running out".

Images captured by Associated Press journalists show the angst of evacuation and solitary beachgoers finding moments of calm before the storm.

There are fears that this storm could cause damage similar to what Houston suffered during Hurricane Harvey past year, when homes and businesses were inundated with floodwater.

USA television networks said 7pm to 7am curfews had been put in place in several towns surrounding Myrtle Beach. Nathan Deal declared an emergency but did not immediately order any evacuations.

That was a bad idea, said Avair Vereen, a local nurse who had sought safety in the shelter with her seven children.

Like this: