80-Foot Waves Recorded Near Hurricane Florence

Katie Ramirez
September 17, 2018

"Mandatory" evacuations in coastal Virginia and the Carolinas have been underway for days in advance of Hurricane Florence, but some residents have chosen to remain in their homes. This part of the North Carolina coast, farther east than Wilmington and other points to the south, received Florence's first blow.

Florence is widely seen as a test for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), whose capabilities were stretched thin past year as it responded to three major hurricanes. "It can still bring a massive storm surge ashore".

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

North Carolina governor Roy Cooper warned: "Don't relax, don't get complacent".

A Storm Surge Watch is in effect for.

In New Bern, population 29,000, flooding on the Neuse River trapped about 200 people.

Rain begins to fall as the outer bands of Hurricane Florence make landfall in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina on September 13, 2018.

Myrtle Beach's courses accounted for half of the $2.7 billion in economic output that golf generated for the SC economy in 2015, according to a report from the state's Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism.

"But once we get to that nine foot range this is an absolute life threatening scenario", she said.

Meanwhile, lane reversals on US 501 in the Grand Strand ended at noon Thursday and reversals on I-26 ended Thursday night, allowing state police and transportation workers to get to safety before the storm hits. "But we can't replace us so we chose to come here".

Florence made landfall as a Category 1 hurricane a few miles east of Wilmington, as the center of its eye moved onshore near Wrightsville Beach, the National Hurricane Center said.

USA power companies said more than 870,000 homes and businesses, mostly in North Carolina and SC, were without power on Saturday after Florence hit the Southeast coast. 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. Some areas could receive as much as 40 inches (one meter) of rain, forecasters said.

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The hurricane center said the large amount of rainfall "will produce catastrophic flash flooding and prolonged significant river flooding".

The slow pace will also create incredible rain totals of more than 20 inches over portions of North and SC.

A fourth person was killed in Lenoir County while plugging in a generator, the governor's office said.

The state's officials say more than 400,000 people have evacuated the coast and more than 4000 people have taken refuge in shelters as the storm approaches.

Winds were already picking up along the coastline on Thursday morning and Myrtle Beach was virtually deserted with empty streets, boarded up storefronts and very little traffic.

So far, a state of emergency has been declared in South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, Georgia and Maryland and Washington DC.

Duke Energy said the hurricane could knock out electricity to three-quarters of its 4 million customers in the Carolinas, and outages could last for weeks. North Carolina will likely see eight months' worth of rain in two to three days, said National Weather Service forecaster Brandon Locklear in a video briefing.

"The shelters are not taking dogs", Ramirez 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's residential garbage, recycling and yard waste has been cancelled for Friday and has been rescheduled for Monday, weather permitting.

"To those in the storm's path, if you can hear me, please stay sheltered in place", he said at a news conference in Raleigh, adding that Florence would "continue its violent grind across the state for days".

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