ISS images show massive Hurricane Florence from 400 km up

Federico Mansilla
Setiembre 14, 2018

More ominously, forecasters said the onslaught would last for hours and hours because Florence was barely creeping along at 6 mph (9 kph) and still drawing energy from the ocean.

"Just because the wind speeds came down, the intensity of this storm came down to a Category 2, please do not let your guard down", said FEMA Administrator Brock Long.

Heavy rain, wind gusts and rising floodwaters from Hurricane Florence swamped the Carolinas as the massive storm crawled toward the coast, threatening millions of people in its path with record rainfall and punishing surf.

At 11:00 pm (0300 GMT), Florence was over the Atlantic Ocean about 60 miles (95 kilometers) east-southeast of Wilmington, North Carolina, and moving northwest at six miles per hour, the NHC said.

Even if Florence were downgraded to a Category 1 hurricane, it would still cause extensive damage, Abrams says.

There was a threat from tornadoes as Florence made landfall, the NHC said.

Airlines have cancelled more than 1,500 flights, and coastal towns across the Carolinas are largely empty after 1.7 million people in three states were told to clear out. Forecasters said "catastrophic" freshwater flooding was expected along waterways far from the coast of the Carolinas. On the forecast track, the centre of the storm is expected to move inland across extreme southeastern North Carolina and extreme eastern South Carolina Friday and Saturday.

"I'm anxious about what I might find when I go home, though", she said.

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Emergency declarations were in force in Georgia, South and North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia.

"This will likely be the storm of a lifetime for portions of the Carolina coast", the National Weather Service in Wilmington, N.C., said, "and that's saying a lot given the impacts we've seen from hurricanes Diana, Hugo, Fran, Bonnie, Floyd, and Matthew".

About 10 million people could be affected by the storm and more than 1 million were ordered to evacuate the coasts of the Carolinas and Virginia. Anyone in an evacuation zone in the Carolinas and Virginia must leave NOW if they haven't yet.

"Some say North Carolina is getting a break, but we are on the wrong side of this story", he said. "But they may not be that much different in terms of wind speed", said Luettich. "I'm not leaving him here".

According to the NHC's forecast discussion at 12 p.m. on September 13: "The subtropical ridge to the northeast and east of Florence is now well-established between Bermuda and the USA mid-Atlantic region and extends westward into Virginia and the central Appalachians".

In Wilmington, residents who had decided not to evacuate were lining up to get ice from a vending machine - $2 for a 16-pound (7.2-kilo) bag. "I learned from the past to keep the ice in the washing machine".

"I built this house myself, so I'm not anxious at all, I know it's solid", he said.

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