In US beach resort, residents seek shelter from the storm

Pablo Tucker
September 16, 2018

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 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.

"This is a very risky storm", said FEMA's Long, urging people still in evacuation zones to heed orders to flee to safer ground.

Weather and emergency officials are warning people in Florence's path not to interpret maps showing the location of the storm's center, or reports that it's losing top wind strength, as signs that they should relax.

Ken Graham, director of the hurricane center, said on Facebook the storm surges could push in as far as 3 kilometers (2 miles).

A mother from Asheboro, North Carolina, was advised to leave the hotel where she'd been vacationing with her family, CBS News reported.

"With this storm, it's a (Category 1) but the storm surge and the flooding is going to be that of a category 4", CNN Meteorologist Jennifer Gray said Thursday night.

Florence's weakening as it neared the coast created tension between some who left home and authorities who anxious that the storm could still be deadly. Another 400 people were in shelters in Virginia, where forecasts were less dire. SC saw 18.51 inches of rain from Hurricane Jerry in 1995. But the restaurant had locked its doors only to comply with a police order. "Stay on guard", Cooper said.

Florence flattened trees, crumbled roads and the assault wasn't anywhere close to being over, with the siege in the Carolinas expected to last all weekend.

People look out over the surf before Hurricane Florence comes ashore on Carolina Beach, North Carolina on September 13, 2018.

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper called Florence an "uninvited brute" that could wipe out entire communities as it grinds across the state. Other areas, including the cities of Darlington, S.C., to Greenville, N.C., imposed their own curfews, set to begin Thursday night.

Storm surge is higher when the water just off the beach is shallower, Needham said.

North Carolina alone is forecast to get 9.6 trillion gallons (36 trillion liters), enough to cover the Tar Heel state to a depth of about 10 inches (25 centimeters). A few hearty locals gathered at Cape Fear Wine and Beer pub in downtown Wilmington. Already the ocean is swallowing beaches, roads and anything else in the way of Hurricane Florence's monstrous storm surge. He warned residents to be prepared to be without electricity "for a long time" in the storm's aftermath.

Duke Energy reported more than 11,000 outages in Surf City, Emerald Isle and Havelock, and the co-ops listed more than 9,000, concentrated in Carteret and Craven counties.

More than 1 million people have been ordered to evacuate and authorities urged them to get going before the streets become inundated.

"This time it's important".

"It is scary. When somebody tells you something like that, it's my cue to get out". "But even worse than that is coming back in because you don't know what you're coming back to".

Myrtle Beach, a SC beach resort, was virtually deserted with empty streets, boarded up storefronts and very little traffic. "Gracious heavenly father God, just with those in the flood zone, may the damage not be so much", they prayed.

The deadliest hurricanes to hit the US mainland killed most of their victims with storm surge, including 2005's Katrina, said Jeff Masters, meteorology director at Weather Underground. Among the tips: Prepare a safety kit and avoid driving through floodwater. Mostly people are getting better at evacuating, with three-quarters of the Florida Keys fleeing before Irma, Masters said. "I charged the batteries of my electronic devices, I have beers and video games".

"The wind was so hard, the waters were so hard that, trying to get out, we got thrown into trailers".

His friend Daniel Gomez is also planning on sticking around. "We're able", he said.

The storm's outer bands lashed towns on the barrier islands and on some of the Tar Heel State's rivers, as the center of the cyclone moved to make a probable Friday landfall.

Other reports by iNewsToday