Published: Sun, September 16, 2018
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

Florence expected to weaken as flood risk rises

Florence expected to weaken as flood risk rises

It is now a tropical storm with top sustained winds of 90 miles per hour (150 kph), but a gust of 112 miles per hour (180 kph) was reported just offshore.

As Florence lingers over east SC, officials are keeping an eye on areas prone to flooding. It was crawling west-southwest at 3 miles per hour, lifting huge amounts of ocean moisture and dumping it far from the coast.

The hurricane centre downgraded Florence to a tropical storm later in the day.

The triple punch of falling rain, rising rivers and coastal storm surges was already triggering catastrophic floods.

Screaming winds bent trees toward the ground and raindrops flew sideways as Florence's leading edge moved in for an extended stay along the coast. Though Florence did not arrive with winds as violent as once feared, forecasters got the storm surge and rainfall correct.

A yacht sits on the Neuse river bank in between buildings after hurricane Florence passed through the area.

High winds and storm surge from Hurricane Florence hits Swansboro N.C., on September 14, 2018.

Here is the latest on the storm from Gray TV affiliate WITN out of Greenville, N.C.

The storm dumped "epic" amounts of rain on North and SC as it trudged inland on Saturday. "Major to record river flooding is likely through the upcoming week, especially for those basins that receive significant rainfall".

Downtown New Bern, on the Neuse River also is flooded.

Kevin Knox and his family were rescued from their flooded brick home with the help of Army Sgt. Johan Mackie, whose team used a phone app to locate people in distress. "And so if you already were a community that was under-resourced, this puts a greater strain on your community, having storms like this".

Meanwhile, in SC, at least one gator seemed to be cool with the outer bands of wind and rain that whipped the Myrtle Beach area. "I was looking for water moccasins to hit me at any time", he said. The crews tried to move the debris with a front loader, but a tree went through the windshield, causing further delays, the officials said.

Though weakened, Florence remains a very large, slow and unsafe storm as it swirls over the Carolinas.

Florence continues to bring rains and threaten lives on the east coast of the USA even after it was downgraded from a hurricane to a tropical storm after making landfall.

"We have 4,200 damaged homes", he said, urging residents to not wade out into the streets because of the dangers posed by downed power lines. We know how to manage expectations.

Perry says his department has been in contact with power companies and gas pipeline operators. He says that "over the years the state government and the federal government have become very coordinated in their ability to manage the pre-deployment of assets (and) the response to the citizens of those states, and we will soon be into the recovery".

The National Hurricane Center (NHC) downgraded it to a tropical storm on Friday, but warned it would dump as much as 30 to 40 inches (76-102 cm) of rain on the southeastern coast of North Carolina and part of northeastern SC.

North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, had around 7 inches (18 centimeters).

Forecasters said that given the storm's size and sluggish track, it could cause epic damage akin to what the Houston area saw during Hurricane Harvey just over a year ago, with floodwaters swamping homes and businesses and washing over industrial waste sites and hog-manure ponds. Dozens more were pulled from a collapsed hotel.

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