Science

Hurricane Florence: 150,000 lose power as storm pummels Carolinas

Hurricane Florence: 150,000 lose power as storm pummels Carolinas”

At 11 a.m. EDT (1200 GMT), the hurricane center said Florence had maximum sustained winds near 45 miles per hour (75 km per hour) and continued to produce catastrophic flooding in the Carolinas. It is now at Category 1.

As Hurricane Florence makes its way toward the East Coast, video was released to show the terrifying reality of being trapped by rising floodwaters.

Its surge could cover all but a sliver of the Carolina coast under as much as 3.4 metres of ocean water, and days of downpours could unload more than 900mm of rain, triggering severe flooding.

Hurricane Florence churned through North Carolina on Friday, knocking out electricity for more than 900,000 customers throughout eastern North Carolina and in the state's midsection.

"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), speaking earlier Thursday.

With a storm surge warning in effect, the authorities urged people to prepare themselves for the disaster.

Despite pleas from state and local officials, some residents rejected calls to evacuate.

Forecasters said conditions will only get more lethal as the storm pushes ashore early Friday near the North Carolina-South Carolina border and makes its way slowly inland.

In New Bern, population 29,000, flooding on the Neuse River trapped about 200 people. That included the busy Charleston and Myrtle Beach airports in SC and Wilmington in North Carolina.

Another Wilmington resident said she does not want to leave because she is afraid to see what she would be coming back to. O'Shaughnessy, head of US Northern Command, said search and rescue would be a top priority, but weather may prevent rescuers from getting in during the hours immediately after the storm hits. "But we can't replace us so we made a decision to come here".

After reaching a terrifying Category 4 peak of 140 mph earlier in the week, Florence made landfall as a Category 1 hurricane at 7:15 a.m.at Wrightsville Beach, a few miles east of Wilmington and not far from the SC line, coming ashore along a mostly boarded-up, emptied-out stretch of coastline.

The public started reporting scattered power outages as early as Wednesday afternoon, when the first gusts of Florence buffeted the state, and the numbers have climbed sharply as the storm worked its way through North Carolina. Hurricane-force winds now extend outward up to 70 miles the center and tropical-storm-force winds now extend outward up to 195 miles from the center. As of Friday morning, Atlantic Beach, a town on the state's Outer Banks barrier islands, already had received 30 inches (76 cm) of rain, the U.S. Geological Service said.

About 10 million people live in the storm's path and more than 1 million people had been ordered to evacuate the coasts of the Carolinas and Virginia.

Myrtle Beach, a SC beach resort, was virtually deserted with empty streets, boarded up storefronts and very little traffic.

Reacting to the possibility of a more southerly track, Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal declared an emergency but did not immediately order any evacuations.

Officials say anyone who has not heeded mandatory evacuation orders is on his own.

Workers are being brought in from the Midwest and Florida to help in the storm's aftermath, the company said. A 78-year-old man was electrocuted attempting to connect extension cords while another man died when he was blown down by high winds while checking on his hunting dogs, a county spokesman said.

But Norfolk spokeswoman Lori Crouch said city officials would not force people to leave and that it's a "personal choice", the AP reported.

The City of North Myrtle Beach stated its curfew is meant to protect residents, minimize the potential for looting and other crimes, and keep roadways clear for emergency personnel, and includes patronizing restaurants.



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