Hurricane Florence: Four reasons to fear this storm

14 Septembre, 2018, 15:06 | Auteur: Therese Cote
  • Ocean waters rushes down Hwy 12 in Frisco N.C. on Hatteras Island as the effects of Hurricane Florence breach the dune line on Thursday Sept. 13 2

Airlines have cancelled more than 1,500 flights, and coastal towns across the Carolinas are largely empty after 1.7 million people in three states were told to clear out.

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

Operations at the ports of Wilmington, Charleston, South Carolina, and Norfolk in Virginia, which together handled 23 per cent of East Coast imports in 2017, have been disrupted by the storm.

Hurricane Florence remains on track to bring life-threatening storm surge and rainfall to coastal North and SC, the National Weather Service says.

At a press conference Thursday morning, officials stressed that Hurricane Florence's wind speed may have fallen, but the danger has not.

The National Weather Service issued a tropical storm warning for Wake, Johnston, Chatham and Nash counties shortly before 5 p.m. Thursday, as Hurricane Florence continues to come ashore along the southeastern coast.

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper warned residents not to "underestimate" Florence's power.

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.

NASA via AP In this September 12, 2018 photo provided by NASA, Hurricane Florence churns over the Atlantic Ocean heading for the USA east coast as seen from the International Space Station.

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Another Wilmington resident said she does not want to leave because she is afraid to see what she would be coming back to.

Warning of looming storm surges of nine to 12 feet (2.7-3.6 meters), he urged residents to take the storm seriously no matter the category, saying "this is all about the water, anyway". "We have a safe basement and generator that comes on automatically".

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 still going to get catastrophic inland flooding from heavy rains and multibillion-dollar storm-surge damage along the coast where it hits, " said Jeff Masters, co-founder of Weather Underground in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The slow forward motion means Florence will batter the area with heavy rainfall, producing up to 40 inches in coastal North Carolina and northeastern SC.

Emergency declarations were in force in Georgia, South and North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia.

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

Will Epperson, a 36-year-old golf course assistant superintendent, said he and his wife had planned to ride out the storm at their home in Hampstead, North Carolina, but reconsidered due to its ferocity. "I'm not leaving him here".

"On a scale of 1 to 10, I'm probably a 7" in terms of worry, she said. "I learned from the past to keep the ice in the washing machine". "I charged the batteries of my electronic devices, I have beers and video games".

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