Published: Fri, September 14, 2018
Sci-tech | By April Francis

More than 20,000 on NC coast already without power from Florence gusts

More than 20,000 on NC coast already without power from Florence gusts

The poorly organized, 45-mph storm is not expected to strengthen but should maintain its tropical storm strength for the next few days. Beside inundating the coast with wind-driven storm, Florence could dump 20 to 30 inches (51-76 cm) of rain, with up to 40 inches in parts of North Carolina, the National Hurricane Center predicts.

Hurricane Florence, the Category 2 storm heading straight for my parents' SC house, has the country on high alert. Chris Pack, a spokesman for the group, said it was airing ads on the channel aimed at viewers in Tennessee, Indiana, Missouri, North Dakota, Nevada and West Virginia, all key races in the increasingly tight battle for control of the Senate.

"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".

Even if a house is elevated 10 feet, with that kind of storm surge, "there's a good chance there's going to be water inside of it", Needham said.

"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). It is an enormous storm, and it's moving slowly.

Florence is forecast to crawl up to the North Carolina coast late this week and turn slowly left - a development that would smash the Tar Heel State with life-threatening storm surge, catastrophic winds and inundating rain while also endangering a large portion of SC.

However, forecasters warned the widening storm, and its likelihood of lingering along the coast for several days, raises the risk of surging ocean water and torrential rain.

Florence is projecting hurricane-force winds outward up to 80 miles from its center; tropical-storm-force winds are swirling outward up to 195 miles away. It is still considered risky with potential for strong winds and hazardous flooding.

"Little change in strength is expected before the center reaches the coast, with weakening expected after the center moves inland", the briefing said.

There are generally three components to a hurricane; strong winds, storm surge and heavy rain.

Storm surge is deadly.

The storm's centre was about 85 miles east-southeast of Wilmington at around 8 p.m. EST.

Florence is the most unsafe of three tropical systems in the Atlantic.

"Regardless of development, heavy rainfall and gusty winds are expected across portions of northeastern Mexico, Texas, and Louisiana on Friday and Saturday", the hurricane center said.

People on barrier islands or peninsulas were running out of time Wednesday to retreat by bridge or ferry.

"This is a life-threatening situation".

Storm surges aren't walls of water, like a tsunami, as commonly thought.

"Extremely risky winds will cause extensive damage: Well-constructed frame homes could sustain major roof and siding damage".

Not everybody was heeding orders to evacuate, however.

That was a bad idea, said Avair Vereen, a local nurse who had sought safety in the shelter with her seven children. On Wednesday, officials said some of those shelters were at capacity, but in a statement early Thursday, county officials said they were "able to mobilize additional resources to accommodate the need for shelter space".

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