Published: Sat, September 15, 2018
Global News | By Blake Casey

Hurricane Florence latest: Powerful storm to hit Carolinas on USA coast

Hurricane Florence latest: Powerful storm to hit Carolinas on USA coast

Hurricane Florence lumbered ashore in North Carolina with howling 90 miles per hour winds and terrifying storm surge early Friday, splintering buildings and trapping hundreds of people in high water as it settled in for what could be a long and extraordinarily destructive drenching.

Tropical Storm Florence is continuing to batter the Carolinas since Friday evening with fierce winds, driving rain and catastrophic flooding.

Hurricane-force winds extend up to 80 miles from Florence's center, with tropical-storm-force winds out about 195 miles.

Although several communities along the coast had mandatory evacuation orders, many people still chose to stay behind, putting them in a prime position to shoot and post videos of the terrifying onslaught. Florence's center will approach the North and SC coasts late Thursday and Friday.

Storm surges, punishing winds and rain are turning some towns into rushing rivers - and the storm is expected to crawl over parts of the Carolinas into the weekend, pounding some of the same areas over and over.

Over 3,000 offenders were evacuated from North Carolina prisons, along with four county jails, resulting in 300 offenders being housed temporarily in state facilities.

According to City of Wilmington Spokeswoman Malissa Talbert, "As the wind increases from Hurricane Florence, City of Wilmington officials continue to strongly encourage residents to remain inside and do not drive".

Florence's rain will reach 40 inches in some parts of the Carolinas, and gusty winds will send the ocean and rivers spilling into neighborhoods, forecasters said.

Conditions are rapidly deteriorating along the coast of the Carolinas as Florence approaches.

While wind speeds dropped Thursday, forecasters reminded people that what makes Florence extremely unsafe are the potentially deadly storm surges, the expected mammoth coastal flooding and historic rainfall.

Though Florence's shrieking winds diminished from hurricane force as it came ashore, forecasters said the sheer size of the 350-mile-wide storm and its painfully slow progress across North and SC in the coming days could leave much of the region under water. Restoring power to all customers could take weeks, it said.

10M in crosshairs of Hurricane ‘Florence’
Spanish moss waved in the trees as the winds picked up in Wilmington , and floating docks bounced atop swells at Morehead City. Officials said some 1.7 million people in the Carolinas and Virginia were warned to evacuate, but it's unclear how many did.


Meteorologist Ryan Maue of weathermodels.com said Florence could dump a staggering 18 trillion gallons of rain over a week on North Carolina, South Carolinas, Virginia, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky and Maryland.

Florence's top sustained winds remain at 70 miles per hour (110 kph) as it crawls west at just 3 miles per hour (6 kph).

"This surge is also likely along portions of the SC coast", the warning continues.

The Wilmington airport had a wind gust clocked at 105 miles per hour (169 kph), the highest since Hurricane Helene in 1958. Hurricane Florence already has inundated coastal streets with ocean water and left tens of thousands without power, and more is to come.

A Storm Surge Warning is in effect for.

According to reports the cyclone has finally arrived on Wrightsville Beach in North Carolina.

One of the rescuers in New Bern was Jason Weinmann, a retired Marine who has a military troop transport vehicle he bought at a government auction. "Plant procedures call for the reactors to be shut down before the anticipated onset of hurricane-force winds", agency spokesman Joey Ledford told CNN. The last Category 4 storm to come out of the Atlantic and strike the North Carolina coast head-on was Hazel in 1954, the most destructive previous event in that region.

The White House said on Friday that President Donald Trump had spoken with state and local officials, assuring them the federal government was prepared to help.

"Either no (hotel) rooms are available, or we are denied because the breed or size of dogs", she said.

None of the people rescued were injured.

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