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

Hurricane Florence begins to batter U.S. east coast

Hurricane Florence begins to batter U.S. east coast

US Southeast power companies said more than 188,000 homes and businesses in North Carolina and SC were without power early Friday as Hurricane Florence caused a deluge ahead of its landfall later in the day. The city's official Twitter account urged residents to move to the upper floors of their homes.

As of 6 a.m., Florence was centered just 10 miles (20 kilometers) east of Wilmington, North Carolina.

Once the centre moves inland, the intensity of the hurricane is set to decrease, according to a forecast discussion posted on the NHC's website.

More than 370,000 people were without power in North Carolina early on Friday, state officials said. Some residents have reported that they are trapped in their attics and on their roofs as storm surge has flooded the lower levels of their homes.

Meteorologists said the leading edge of the massive storm on Thursday buffeted Cape Lookout, North Carolina, with 68 miles per hour sustained winds that gusted to 85 miles per hour.

Since issuing a mandatory evacuation order Wednesday, nearly all of the more than 2500 residents left the island. We have wind and rain.

Meanwhile, Facebook groups such as Hurricane Florence 2018 Jacksonville, NC stepped up to connect evacuees with people willing to pay for their gas or offer spare bedrooms - or in one case, trampolines - where they can stay.

It is the storm's movement and not its strength that has forecasters and officials anxious. "This large-scale feature is expected to keep the hurricane moving northwestward today, followed by a turn toward the west at a much slower speed on Friday as the ridge to the north of Florence weakens due to a weak shortwave trough dropping slowly southward from the Ohio Valley".

And the storm is still expected to bring catastrophic winds, rain, storm surges and flooding, the National Hurricane Center briefing said.

Authorities main concern with Florence is extremely heavy rainfall, rather than high winds.

The coastal area of SC features hundreds of inlets while North Carolina has barrier islands miles away from the mainland.

As Hurricane Florence brings trillions of gallons of water ashore, the storm is headed straight for some of the largest concentrations of hog farms in the county. "I've lived here all my life".

"It's going to coming roaring up to the coast Thursday night and say 'I'm not sure I really want to do this and I'll just take a tour of the coast and decide where I want to go inland, '" said Jeff Masters, meteorology director of the private Weather Underground.

The impact of the storm is already being felt by those caught in its path. "This water is through the first floor of your home, into the second", Navarro says.

Eerie footage from local broadcasters WCTI captured the moment meteorologist Donnie Cox announced he had to evacuate the building because of the rising water.

The NWS reported "lots of tree damage, debris and power lines down" across Harkers Island, N.C. The city said two FEMA teams were working on swift-water rescues and more were on the way.

"(Its) very eerie, the wind howling, the rain blowing sideways, debris flying", said Orsa, who lives nearby and fears splintering trees will pummel her house.

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