Thursday, 13 December, 2018

Hurricane Florence: Outer bands approaching Carolina Coast

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Sherry Houston | 22 September, 2018, 16:59

The Carolina coast is already feeling the effects of Hurricane Florence as the outer bands brought wind and rain early Thursday morning.

Meteorologists for days have watched Florence grow in size, allowing its hurricane and tropical-storm-force winds to spread far out from the center of the storm.

In Morehead City, the rain and surf pounded the shoreline and took aim at the few boats still in the water.

Sarah Risty-Davis, a resident of New Bern, tells NPR she had water up to the second floor in her 1920s-era home near Neuse River.

It's unclear exactly how many people fled ahead of the storm, but more than 1.7 million people in the Carolinas and Virginia were warned to clear out. St. Helena Island near the South Carolina-Georgia line is used to riding out big storms - from one that killed an estimated 2,000 people in 1893 to Tropical Storm Irma past year. At Cape Lookout there were sustained winds of 83 miles per hour and gusts of 106. "That's the second story of a house", North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper said Thursday morning according to CNN.

"For us in Georgia with so many trees, that is a combination that brings power lines down and that means we have to have the private sector in terms of utility companies on standby prepared to deal with that". "The larger and the slower the storm is, the greater the threat and the impact - and we have that".

North Carolina had 108 shelters open, and SC reported having 56 shelters open on Thursday morning, as the storm loomed toward the coast. Once it reaches the coast, it has nowhere to go but inland.

The weather forecaster said: "We are not using the word downgraded today". To put that in perspective, the expected 40 inches of water would fill up 15 million Olympic-size swimming pools, which is almost unimaginable.

In the North Carolina town of Rodanthe, on Hatteras Island, Rebecca Well Hooper shot video of the pier early Thursday afternoon.

"We hope to have something left when we get home", she said. "You put your life at risk by staying". Just because of the sheer size of it. "And since we have three dogs and three parrots, they're requesting us to purchase two to six rooms". "He is the only caregiver to me and my son", Browning said. It's a kind gesture but doesn't alleviate Browning's fear. "I'm going to Charlotte". "But I think it'll be OK". The shopping list for people who have chose to ride out the storm at home: plywood to board up their windows, sandbags, bilge pumps, generators, trash bags, potato chips, bottled water and wine.

This vulnerable area has been under mandatory evacuation orders since last night at 8 p.m., and those who are choosing to ride out the storm have been under a mandatory curfew since that time, to keep people inside.

If it stalls over land, downpours and flooding would be especially severe.

"I can't emphasise enough the potential for unbelievable damage from wind, storm surge and inland flooding". "Tens of thousands of structures are expected to be flooded, and many more by rising rivers and creeks".

"You're going to have damaging winds for a longer period of time", senior hurricane specialist Stacy Stewart said in an update from the NHC.

He said he usually doesn't make the pizzas himself, but he was on Thursday because "everybody is scared", including most of his staff.

The National Weather Service said 5.25 million people live in areas under hurricane warnings or watches, and 4.9 million live in places covered by tropical storm warnings or watches.

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