Published: Sun, September 16, 2018
Research | By Raquel Erickson

United States hurricane could kill 'a lot of people'

United States hurricane could kill 'a lot of people'

"This system is unloading epic amounts of rainfall, in some places measured in feet and not inches", North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper told a news briefing about a storm that forecasters said was 300 miles (480 km) wide. "Catastrophic effects will be felt".

People in areas vulnerable to the risky hurricane, particularly those in coastal regions, have fled ahead of the storm.

"Just because the wind speed came down, the intensity of this storm came down to a Cat 2, please do not let your guard down", said Brock Long, the administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

Hurricane warnings and storm surge warnings were still in effect from South Santee River in SC to Duck in North Carolina and the Albemarle and Pamlico Sounds.

The impact of Florence will be widespread, with destructive winds, life-threatening storm surge, unsafe surf, torrential rainfall, flooding and the potential for tornadoes.

A buoy off the North Carolina coast recorded waves almost 30 feet high as Florence churned toward shore.

Atlantic Beach on North Carolina's Outer Banks islands had already received 30 inches (72 cm) of rain, the U.S. Geological Survey said, while more than 25 inches (63 cm) have fallen in the Newport, Morehead City area since Thursday.

Avair Vereen, 39, took her seven children to a shelter in Conway High School.

He said that people living near rivers, streams and lowland areas in the region were most at risk.

"Now's the time when we stop projecting and we just sit back and watch", says Young.

Florence's centre was about 40km east of Wilmington, North Carolina at 4am on Friday and moving west at 10km/h, the NHC said.

"Gradual weakening is forecast while Florence moves farther inland during the next couple of days, and it is expected to weaken to a tropical depression" by Saturday night, the center said in a bulletin. CoreLogic noted at the time of its advisory that SC is not included in the table as it is not expected to exceed tropical storm force winds based on the projected track.

"We've got a lot of resources, but we don't want to put them out there where they could be injured or maybe worse", Sprayberry said ahead of the storm. He asked citizens in danger zones to heed warnings because "your time is running out".

Long said the danger was not only along the coast.

John Church, who works at Bourbon Street bar and restaurant, walked to the river to see the conditions about an hour after Florence made landfall.

About 10 million people live in the path of the slow-moving storm and more than 1 million had been ordered to evacuate the coasts of the Carolinas and Virginia, jamming westbound roads and highways for miles.

About 1.7 million residents across the states' coastlines are under mandatory evacuation orders, and tens of thousands of hospital patients and prison inmates have been moved out of Florence's path.

Emergency declarations were in force in Georgia, South and North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia.

Duke Energy, the major power supplier for North and SC, told the New York Times on Wednesday that the storm could knock out power for up to 3 million customers across the two states.

Since issuing a mandatory evacuation order Wednesday, nearly all of the more than 2500 residents left the island.

The storm is expected to linger, dumping several centimeters of rain in affected areas and causing widespread destruction.

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