Friday, 21 September, 2018

Carolina Braces for Florence Storm Surge

Hurricane Florence hours away from Carolinas Hurricane Florence: Wind and rain hit US coast ahead of system making landfall
Kristen Harrington | 14 September, 2018, 09:25

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. "Today the threat becomes a reality". Hurricane Florence's path is hitting many counties where fewer than 5% of people have flood insurance.

"We're on the wrong side of this storm". "We can not underestimate this storm".

One climate model is predicting that as much as 11 trillion gallons of rain will fall on North Carolina in the coming week - an amount that's enough to fill the Empire State Building 40 times over.

Hurricane Florence has just about reached the cost of the Carolinas, set to bring heavy rain and damaging winds to the area tomorrow and through the weekend.

By early evening, almost 70,000 residents were without electricity, according to North Carolina Emergency Management.

The head of Duke Energy Corp.'s North Carolina operations says it could take weeks to restore electricity if the company's prediction that 1 million to 3 million of its 4 million customers lose power.

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It is expected to impact Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia.

SC ordered the mandatory evacuation of one million coastal residents while North Carolina announced an evacuation of the Outer Banks, a popular tourist destination.

The fates of the region's furry, feathered and finned friends were also up in the air, as staffers scrambled to secure zoos, aquariums and animal shelters.

About 10 million people could be affected by the storm and more than 1 million had been ordered to evacuate the coasts of the Carolinas and Virginia, jamming westbound roads and highways for miles.

Zookeepers and veterinarians resolved to hunker down with the creatures and see them through the storm.

Because most are managed as wild animals, numerous horses will be left to fend for themselves, said Paula Gillikin of the North Carolina Coastal Reserve. "That's why we're begging for assistance".

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Forecasters said that given the storm's size and sluggish track, it could cause epic damage akin to what the Houston area saw during Hurricane Harvey just over a year ago, with floodwaters swamping homes and businesses and washing over industrial waste sites and hog-manure ponds.

Empty stores and packed houses alike sit boarded up and bolstered with sandbags, and the streets are empty with curfews in effect in many areas.

Once a Category 4 hurricane with winds of 140 miles per hour (225 kph), the hurricane was downgraded to a Category 1 on Thursday night.

Even the thousands of emergency workers on scene - ranging from power workers to National Guardsmen to cops, many of them volunteers from across the country - could only sit and wait for Florence to do its worst before they could do their best. "They need to shelter in place".

The police chief of Wrightsville Beach, vulnerable on a North Carolina barrier island, agreed that those who refused to leave were now on their own.

"This storm will bring destruction", North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper said. "Especially for people that we've already told to evacuate".

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