Hurricane Florence Reduces Its Intensity But Not Its Destructive Power

Saturday, 15 Sep, 2018

About 9,700 National Guard troops and civilians have been deployed, with high-water vehicles, helicopters and boats.

Still, she said, "I think we're going to stay put", noting her neighborhood's past success in avoiding power outages and flooding.

People in areas vulnerable to the unsafe hurricane, particularly those in coastal regions, have fled ahead of the storm.

"Florence will then move generally northward across the western Carolinas and the central Appalachian Mountains early next week".

More than 10 million people throughout North and SC and Virginia are under a hurricane or tropical storm watch or warning as of Friday, according to the National Weather Service.

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper warned that "disaster is at the doorstep" and pleaded with residents and tourists alike not to underestimate Florence's threat to life.

As Hurricane Florence makes landfall in the Carolinas, U.S. President Donald Trump Friday tweeted his support for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), first responders and law enforcement, stating that they are doing an "incredible job".

"A USGS gauge in Emerald Isle, N.C., recently recorded 6.1 feet above normal water levels", the National Hurricane Center said of the storm surge early Friday.

Its storm surge and the prospect of 1 to 3½ feet of rain were considered a bigger threat than its winds, which dropped way down from a terrifying 140 miles per hour - Category 4 - earlier in the week.

Except - and we don't mean to jinx it - but the storm *is* heading further south from here and the wind did die down a bit so who is to say it didn't work entirely?

That's about 220 miles from Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina, where Florence made landfall as a Category 1 hurricane at 7:15 a.m. September 14, coming ashore along a mostly boarded-up, emptied-out stretch of coastline.

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"We know we're in for a long haul here", Cooper said of predictions that the storm will linger over the area.

Florence was downgraded to a Category 1 storm on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale on Thursday evening and was located about 50 miles (80 kilometers) southwest of Morehead City, North Carolina with maximum sustained winds of 90 miles per hour (150 km/h).

As of Wednesday night, Florence's tropical storm force winds were almost 400 miles wide - or the roughly the equivalent of driving from Washington, D.C, to Charlotte, North Carolina; or from Milwaukee, Wisconsin to St. Louis; or from Los Angeles to San Francisco.

Sheets of rain splattered against windows of a hotel before daybreak in Wilmington, where Sandie Orsa of Wilmington sat in a lobby lit by emergency lights after the power failed.

The rising sea crept toward the two-story home of Tom Copeland, who lives on a spit of land surrounded by water in Swansboro.

Hurricane Florence's path could affect the homes of more than 5 million people, and more than 1 million of them have been ordered to evacuate.

Another 400 people were in shelters in Virginia, where forecasts were less dire. But with a storm surge putting pressure on water to head back inland and heavy rains swelling those rivers, widespread flooding is the result.

There were no immediate reports of storm-related deaths or serious injuries, but authorities said more than 100 people were rescued further north in New Bern, where the downtown area of the city of 30,000 people was under water.

As of 1 p.m. ET, more than a foot of rain had fallen in many towns in southeastern North Carolina.

While Zone A is a mandatory evacuation zone, a city spokesperson said they would never force anyone to leave.