Published: Thu, September 13, 2018
Research | By Raquel Erickson

Florence weakens, but 'disaster is at doorstep'

Florence weakens, but 'disaster is at doorstep'

Upon its arrival, the National Hurricane Center projects that Florence could drop anywhere from 20-40 inches of rain along the Carolina coast.

"It truly is really about the whole size of this storm", National Hurricane Center Director Ken Graham said. Emergency declarations were in force in Georgia, South and North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia.

Delta Air Lines added 1,200 seats as of Wednesday evening via extra flights and upsized aircraft in the storm's path to get people out of the area before Florence hits.

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.

It's unclear exactly how many people fled, but more than 1.7 million people in the Carolinas and Virginia were warned to clear out.

As of 10am Thursday (local time), Florence's top winds were 177km/h, and it was marching northwest at16km/h, about 257km east-southeast of Wilmington, North Carolina, and 329km east-southeast of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

People in areas vulnerable to a risky hurricane have left or are fleeing ahead of the storm's expected Friday or Saturday landfall.

States up and down the East Coast have a great potential for severe weather.

"There is still time to leave", North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper told "CBS This Morning" on Thursday.

The storm will be a test of President Donald Trump's administration less than two months before elections to determine control of Congress.

Hurricane Florence's heavy rains and tropical storm-force winds reached North Carolina's Outer Banks on Thursday morning, leading the way for a storm packing 105-mph winds.

"People don't have to work the next day because of the hurricane".

Body surfer Andrew Vanotteren, of Savannah, Georgia, crashes into waves from Hurricane Florence, Wednesday, September 12, 2018, on the south beach of Tybee Island, Georgia. "It's an extremely risky, life-threatening, historic hurricane".

The National Hurricane Center (NHC) issued a storm surge warning for the South Santee River in SC to Duck River in North Carolina, all the way up to the North Carolina-Virginia border. Then it is likely to hover along the coast Saturday, pushing up to 13 feet (nearly 4 meters) of storm surge and unloading water on both states.

Despite the fact that the hurricane has been downgraded to Category 2, the 80 miles per hour winds and coastal flooding will still cause significant damage throughout the southeast. Even though it has weakened, it still carries the high risk of torrential rains and catastrophic flooding. Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands face possible isolated amounts of 3 inches.

At 8 a.m. EDT (1200 UTC), the center of the eye of Hurricane Florence was located by an Air Force Reserve reconnaissance aircraft and NOAA Doppler weather radars to be near latitude 33.1 degrees north and longitude 75.1 degrees west. It caused 117 fatalities and cost the US $17 billion.

And if that isn't enough, Subtropical Storm Joyce formed in the North Atlantic Tuesday afternoon, but it's not expected to hit the U.S. The system is expected to drift to the southwest in the coming days.

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