Astronauts on International Space Station showcase power of Hurricane Florence in photos

Federico Mansilla
Setiembre 14, 2018

Fierce winds and massive waves are expected to lash the coasts of North and SC and Virginia even before Florence makes landfall by early Friday, bringing a storm surge as much as 13 feet (4 meters).

"Although slow weakening is expected to begin by late Thursday, Florence is still forecast to be an extremely unsafe major hurricane when it nears the United States coast late Thursday and Friday".

According to the National Weather Service, as of 10 a.m. Thursday, Hurricane Florence was losing strength and was downgraded to a Category 2 storm with maximum sustained winds at 110 miles per hour.

Hurricane Irma destroyed Kathy Griffin's house in Florida past year, and it could be days before she finds out whether Florence smashed her fifth-story condominium in Wrightsville Beach, where authorities said utilities could be out for days or weeks.

We are in the Cape Fear region in North Carolina, where residents have been rushing to escape inland.

"Watch out, America!" Gerst, who joined the crew of the International Space Station (ISS) in June, said Wednesday via a tweet featuring pictures he took of Hurricane Florence. He cautioned residents to closely monitor Hurricane Florence.

It will strike with torrential rains, powerful winds and potentially devastating flooding.

Florence could strengthen some over open water and then weaken as it nears land, but the difference won't make it any less risky, forecaster Stacy Stewart wrote in a National Hurricane Center discussion.

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"This is a very fluid situation, especially now that new model runs are shifting the course of the storm south after landfall, potentially increasing its impact on SC and Georgia", St. Mary's Hospital spokesman Mark Ralston said.

Hurricane Florence, now a Category 4 storm, could become stronger Wednesday.

In Jacksonville, next to Camp Lejeune, firefighters and police fought wind and rain as they went door-to-door to pull people out of the Triangle Motor Inn after the cinderblock structure began to crumble and the roof started to collapse. "It's going to destroy homes", said Jeff Byard, an official at the Federal Emergency Management Agency. In South Carolina and inland parts of North Carolina, 5 to 10 inches of rain could fall, with 20 inches possible in some areas.

By Saturday, total rainfall could accumulate to 30 inches (76 centimeters) - or even 40 inches in places - in parts of the Carolinas and Virginia, the NHC said.

"We've seen nor'easters and we've seen hurricanes before", Cooper said, "but this one is different".

"An Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunter aircraft that was in the hurricane until just after midnight" recorded a peak wind gust of around 150 miles per hour, according to the hurricane center.

And it led to mixed signals from officials in SC, whose governor had canceled mandatory evacuation for several coastal counties. "It's a big one", he said.

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