More than 870,000 without power as Florence lumbers inland

Muriel Hammond
September 17, 2018

The hurricane center is forecasting the storm to hover near the coast on Saturday with winds of around 130 kph before landfall, but with rainfall ranging from 50 to 75 centimeters and up to 4 meters of storm surge.

At least 280,000 people are already without power as the outskirts of the storm lashed North and SC, and Virginia.

Florence was downgraded to a Category 2 storm overnight on the five-level Saffir-Simpson wind scale but it is still packing hurricane-force winds of 100 miles (155 kilometers) per hour, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) said.

The utility said more than 20,000 workers were ready to restore power - its largest mobilization in history.

He said hurricane-force winds extend outward 80 miles from the center of the storm and tropical storm-force winds extend almost 200 miles out. Along coastal communities, people trapped in homes by relentless flood waters awaited rescue, and tens of thousands hunkered down in shelters after fleeing their homes as the storm approached.

Nationwide more than 1,000 flights were cancelled as Florence is expected to hover over the Carolinas, bringing near non-stop rain for days.

Winds bent trees toward the ground and raindrops flew sideways as Florence moved in for an extended stay, with enough of its killer winds swirling overseas to maintain its power.

Storm swell is predicted to reach almost 4 metres in height near the coastal cities of Wilmington and Jacksonville, absolutely devastating structures in the region.

At 7 a.m., Florence was centered just 5 miles east of Wilmington, North Carolina. More than 60 people had to be rescued in another town as a cinderblock motel collapsed at the height of the storm's fury.

"We need to stay vigilant", said Scott Rogers, deputy chief of Nash County Emergency Services.

"WE ARE COMING TO GET YOU", the tweet said.


"We consider our students anyone across nine states in the Southeast, many of whom may live in the coastal areas of North and South Carolina, Georgia, Virginia, and West Virginia-all of which are affected by the path of Hurricane Florence".

"I've never been one to leave for a storm but this one kind of had me spooked", Epperson said.

In Norfolk, Virginia, police were alerted to people dressed in fluorescent vests going door to door and telling residents that they had to leave their homes and businesses, The Associated Press reported Thursday. This expansion in size only increases the hurricane's energy and potential for significant storm surge.

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper told a news conference, that a "historic storm" would unleash rains and floods that would inundate nearly the entire state.

Southeastern coastal North Carolina and far northeastern SC are expected to get pelted with 20 to 30 inches of rain, and some isolated spots may get up to 40 inches in 48 hours. This part of the North Carolina coast, farther east than Wilmington and other points to the south, received Florence's first blow.

Duke Energy said it would close a pair of nuclear power reactors at its Brunswick plant on the Cape Fear River, about four miles from Southport, N.C. The company said its procedures required closing the plants when facing sustained 75 mph winds, even though the plants were created to withstand winds of more than 200 mph and a storm surge of 22 feet.

"Afterwards, I'm going to drink a bottle of whiskey and take a two-day nap, but right now I'm walking the neighbourhood and making sure my neighbours are fine, because nobody can get in here".

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.

"Unfortunately, when storms hit is during our fall season", he said. They died when a large tree came down over the back of their home, crushing and killing them while leaving the child's father hospitalized Friday morning.

"Other sources are predicting a financial toll for Florence of up to $170 billion, and we think that is extreme when looking at Florence's track and impacts to people and their lives", Myers said.

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