‘Threat becomes reality’: Florence begins days of rain, wind

Katie Ramirez
September 14, 2018

Millions of people are in the path of Hurricane Florence as the massive category 2 storm closes in on the Carolina coast on Thursday afternoon.

Reports said coastal streets in North Carolina were flooded and winds bent trees to the ground as the storm, which has been downgraded to Category 1 and is weakened and slower moving than in recent days, prepared to make landfall at some point on Friday.

A camera at the Frying Pan Tower located 34 miles off the coast of Cape Fear, North Carolina has been livestreaming a view of the Atlantic Ocean since May, and is powering through the storm to dutifully record an American flag over the rising waves.

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

Florence's top winds were clocked on Thursday evening at 90 miles per hour (150 km/h) as it churned in the Atlantic Ocean, down from a peak of 140 miles per hour (224 km/h) earlier this week when it was classified as a Category 4 storm.

The impact is expected to be similar to that of Hurricane Harvey on the Houston area past year, Feltgen said. Storm surge of 13 feet on top of a high tide at 7 feet could overwhelm the town.

Forecasters said conditions will deteriorate as the storm pushes ashore early Friday near the North Carolina-South Carolina line and makes its way slowly inland.

Hurricane-force winds extended 80 miles (130 kilometres) from its centre, and tropical-storm-force winds up to 195 miles (315 kilometres).

"We live in a mobile home so we were just like 'No way, '" she said.

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It was set to inundate nearly all of North Carolina in several feet of water, State Governor Roy Cooper told a news conference, while National Weather Service forecaster Brandon Locklear predicted up to eight months of rain in two or three days. "Well, we're about to get punched in the face".

Over 1,400 flights have been cancelled, according to FlightAware.com, as most of the coastal region's airports are closed to ride out the storm.

North Carolina has had this problem before.

General O'Shaughnessy said there were about 7,000 USA military personnel now in place and ready to respond to the storm, along with ships, helicopters, high-wheeled vehicles and other equipment.

About 10 million people could be affected by the 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.

"3000 people did not die in the two hurricanes that hit Puerto Rico", Trump said on Twitter.

Photos of the beaches in North and SC show how serious it's going to be.

The storm, which is expected to be one of the biggest to ever hit North Carolina, South Carolina and parts of Virginia, should be making landfall sometime this weekend.

"I have no generator", said Petra Langston, a nurse.

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