'Historic storm' lashes Carolinas with heavy rain, floods

Pablo Tucker
September 17, 2018

As Americans in North and SC begin to feel the effects of Hurricane Florence, The Weather Channel has reminded viewers of how risky storm surges can be.

Portions of a boat dock and boardwalk are destroyed by powerful wind and waves as Hurricane Florence arrives September 13, 2018, in Atlantic Beach, N.C.

"Just because the wind speed came down, the intensity of this storm came down. please do not let your guard down", said Brock Long, the administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), earlier on Thursday.

Florence's winds weakened as it drew closer to land, dropping from a peak of 140 miles per hour (225 kph) earlier in the week, and the hurricane was downgraded from a terrifying Category 4 to a 2.

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

"I was really anxious about coming back to Cleveland because of the weather report", said Cheryl Hermsdorfer, a Cleveland area native who managed to book an earlier flight.

Just before 5am ET (10am BST) the National Hurricane Center (NHC) said the eye of the storm was about to make landfall in North Carolina as hundreds of thousands of people were evacuated.

"Sometime Friday afternoon, Friday evening or Saturday morning", Goldstein said.


Florence has been bearing down on the Carolinas for days, and it has expanded in size, with tropical-storm-force winds extending almost 200 miles from the storm's eye.

The trend is "exceptionally bad news", said University of Miami hurricane researcher Brian McNoldy, since it "smears a landfall out over hundreds of miles of coastline, most notably the storm surge".

People in areas vulnerable to the unsafe hurricane, particularly those in coastal regions, have fled ahead of the storm.

Todd Kaplan, Northeastern's emergency operations manager, said that the Northeastern University Police Department and the Facilities Division are coordinating with weather forecasters and emergency managers to provide timely updates and keep tabs on students and their family members who are in the path of the storm. Forecasters said "catastrophic" freshwater flooding was expected along waterways far from the coast of the Carolinas.

More than 10 feet of storm surge is expected to hit some areas in North Carolina and SC, triggered by Florence.

In Virginia, 245,000 coastal residents were told to flee.

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

One electricity company fears that three-quarters of its four million customers will lose power as a result of the storm, and may not be reconnected for weeks.


"We're on the wrong side of this thing".

"The infrastructure is going to break", he said.

"This is a powerful storm that can kill", said North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper in a Thursday press briefing. Several places already had more than 16 inches (40 centimeters) of rain, and Oriental, North Carolina got more than 20 inches (50 centimeters) in just a few hours.

A Storm Surge Watch is in effect for.

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

Southeastern coastal North Carolina into far northeastern SC could see 20 to 30 inches of rainfall; some isolated areas could see 40 inches. Also, a 77-year-old man was apparently knocked down by the wind and died after going out to check on his hunting dogs, Lenoir County authorities said, and the governor's office said a man was electrocuted while trying to connect extension cords in the rain.

"Against my better judgment, due to emotionalism, I evacuated", said Fisher, 74.


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