Stare Down from Space into the Churning Maw of Hurricane Florence

14 Septembre, 2018, 14:27 | Auteur: Therese Cote
  • People walk on a local street as water from Neuse River starts flooding houses upon Hurricane Florence coming ashore in New Bern North Carolina

Reports out of Wilmington, North Carolina, said that the outer bands of wind and rain from Florence, a Category 2 storm with 105 miles per hour winds, are hitting North Carolina.

But North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper warned: "Don't relax, don't get complacent". "Catastrophic effects will be felt".

Another live stream at Wilmington Tower, which usually broadcasts sweeping views of the North Carolina landscape, shows storm clouds rolling in over the ocean.

The latest rainfall projections warn of 20 to 40 inches of rain from coastal North Carolina into northeastern SC - amounts that could bring "catastrophic flash flooding", the hurricane center said.

Not everyone was taking Florence too seriously: About two dozen locals gathered Thursday night behind the boarded-up windows of The Barbary Coast bar as Florence blew into Wilmington.

The center said the threat of freshwater flooding will increase over the next several days. "From 8 a.m.to noon, the center will drift inland across southern North Carolina, and that is when we will see the strongest winds", said WRAL meteorologist Elizabeth Gardner.

At 5 p.m. Thursday, the center of Florence was 100 miles east-southeast of Wilmington, North Carolina, and 155 miles east of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

Luettich and colleagues at the University of Notre Dame and University of Texas spent 30 years developing ADCRIC, a computer model that gauges storm surge and other impacts of major coastal weather events. It's moving at 15 miles per hour, but as it nears the Carolina coast, it will dramatically slow down.

As the storm continues to track toward western North Carolina and upstate SC, heavy rains in the mountains could trigger mudslides due to the region's topography, Cline added.

Even if Florence were downgraded to a Category 1 hurricane, it would still cause extensive damage, Abrams says.

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While Florence has been downgraded to a Category 2 storm, it remains unpredictable according to the National Hurricane Center (NHC).

The hurricane centre also said the threat of tornadoes was increasing as the storm neared shore. Restoring power to all customers could take weeks, it said.

At least 12,000 people had taken refuge in 126 emergency shelters, Governor Cooper said, with more facilities being opened. "The county is larger than Rhode Island; it is not coastal or subject to any potential storm surge where the jail is at". Another 400 people were in shelters in Virginia, where forecasts were less dire. He urged people to stay off roads during peak storm conditions and warned against driving through standing floodwater.

Not everybody was heeding orders to evacuate, however.

Screaming winds bent trees toward the ground and raindrops flew sideways as Florence's leading edge whipped the Carolina coast to begin an onslaught that could last for days, leaving a wide area under water from both heavy downpours and rising seas.

"The idea of having to leave with my two cats and go somewhere for a week or more. once you leave, you don't know how many days it will be before you can return", a Wilmington resident named Kate tells VOA.

"Either no (hotel) rooms are available, or we are denied because the breed or size of dogs", she said.

"The police chief was talking to in Atlantic beach was saying he has just never seen anything like this".

"This is an absolute life-threatening scenario".

"We'll handle it. We're ready".

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