Hurricane Florence crawling toward the Carolinas, coastal water levels rising

Katie Ramirez
September 14, 2018

Forecasters say the center of Florence is expected to move inland between Friday and Saturday.

"My concern at present is that the storm could deepen during its approach to Ireland, transforming from a Post Tropical Cyclone into a very powerful Atlantic Storm, which would potentially increase the winds along the west and south coast given the storms angle and interaction with the jet stream".

As dry air worked into the system yesterday, the storm, which was a Category 4 Hurricane with maximum sustained winds exceeding 130 miles per hour, just two days ago, has weakened overnight to a Category 2 storm, with maximum sustained winds of 110 miles per hour.

Areas along the coast from Cape Fear to Cape Lookout, NC, including the Neuse, Pamlico, Pungo and Bay rivers may experience storm surges from 9 to 13 feet.

Officials in the potential path of Florence urged people to evacuate their coastal homes and directed drivers away from the coast. And 15 counties in North Carolina were under a tornado watch by Thursday morning, including: Beaufort, Carteret, Craven, Dare, Duplin, Greene, Hyde, Jones, Lenoir, Martin, Onslow, Pamlico, Pitt, Tyrrell and Washington Counties. "Catastrophic effects will be felt".

Duke has said it could take several weeks to fully restore power in areas that are inaccessible due to flooding.

This image of Hurricane Florence was captured by ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst, now living and working onboard the International Space Station. #HurricaneFlorence is so enormous, we could only capture her with a super wide-angle lens from the @Space_Station, 400 km directly above the eye.

"We hope to have something left when we get home", she said.

"But we can't replace us so we made a decision to come here".

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"On the forecast track, the center of Florence is expected to move inland across extreme southeastern North Carolina and extreme eastern South Carolina Friday and Saturday". Florence is now a Category 2 hurricane, but could strengthen a bit before making landfall. Hurricane force winds extended 80 miles from the centre of the storm, while tropical storm force winds extended up to 195 miles. One emergency official said it will be a "Mike Tyson punch" to the area.

And Cooper said the state is expecting significant flooding even after the storm passes.

Hurricane Florence is now a Category 4 storm making a beeline for the US East coast.

Florence was downgraded overnight to a category one hurricane - with 90mph (145kmh) winds - but forecasters have warned that conditions will only get more lethal as the storm pushes ashore in the early hours of Friday morning.

Boarding up his home in Myrtle Beach, S.C., Chris Pennington watched the forecasts and tried to decide when to leave.

The National Guard is on standby in North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia to deal with emergencies as they arise.

Numerous communities throughout the region have issued either mandatory or voluntary evacuation orders.

Cheryl Browning lives with her husband and son, who has terminal cancer, in Richlands, North Carolina. "I'm not leaving him here".

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