Friday, 21 September, 2018

Hurricane Florence: Expert issues DEATH warning to residents refusing to leave

Heavy surf crashes the dunes at high tide in Nags Head N.C. on Sept. 13 as Hurricane Florence approaches the coast Heavy surf crashes the dunes at high tide in Nags Head N.C. on Sept. 13 as Hurricane Florence approaches the coast
Pablo Mccormick | 15 September, 2018, 16:28

Four deaths have already been attributed to Hurricane Florence after it made landfall in North Carolina early Friday, pushing a life-threatening storm surge of floodwater miles inland and ripping apart buildings with screaming wind and pelting rain.

Hurricane Florence already inundated coastal streets with ocean water and left tens of thousands without power early Friday, and forecasters say conditions will only worsen as the hulking storm slogs inland.

About 1.7 million people in North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia have been put under voluntary or mandatory evacuation orders to avoid what emergency officials called a "once in a lifetime" storm.

Preceded first by the storm surge and the winds, heavy rains were picking up as of late Thursday afternoon, the beginning of an onslaught that for some areas may not relent for days.

"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. "We're able", he said.

According to the National Weather Service, storm surges occur when hurricane winds blow along the surface of the ocean and cause water to build up as the storm gets closer to the shoreline.

"We may be facing a situation where hurricane-force winds are weaker than anticipated but perhaps impacting a slightly broader region than once thought", he said.

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

Meanwhile, lane reversals on US 501 in the Grand Strand ended at noon Thursday and reversals on I-26 ended Thursday night, allowing state police and transportation workers to get to safety before the storm hits.

But the storm still carried "very risky winds", the Center added.

But North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper warned: "Don't relax, don't get complacent. Today the threat becomes a reality".

The high winds will likely snap or uproot numerous trees.

As Florence drew near, U.S. President Donald Trump tweeted that FEMA and first responders are "supplied and ready", and he disputed the official conclusion that almost 3,000 people died in Puerto Rico, claiming the figure was a Democratic plot to make him look bad.

A slow motion over eastern SC is forecast Friday night through Saturday night.

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Residents are still recovering from Hurricane Matthew and communities with financial struggles are slow to rebuild after a major disaster.

Duke Energy Co. said Florence could knock out electricity to three-quarters of its 4 million customers in the Carolinas, and outages could last for weeks.

"I end up hearing more negative stories about leaving than staying", Mrs. Mramer said.

"So this is a very risky storm", said Mr Long.

A buoy off the North Carolina coast recorded waves almost 30 feet high as Florence churned toward shore.

NHC Director Ken Graham said on Facebook the storm surges could push in as far as 2 miles (3 km).

Utility crews had largely stopped stringing power lines during the peak of the storm and said they would not resume restoring power until wind speeds subsided and flood waters receded, which could take several areas in the hardest-hit areas.

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