'Threat becomes reality': Florence begins days of rain, wind

Federico Mansilla
Setiembre 14, 2018

Flooding from rain and rising rivers also was reported in New Bern.

The Miami-based center had said earlier Friday Florence's arrival would come with "catastrophic" fresh water flooding over portions of the Carolinas.

The storm's intensity diminished as it neared land, with winds dropping to around 90 miles per hour (144 kph) by nightfall.

But North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper warned: "Don't relax, don't get complacent".

The surge in power outages along the coast is the result of gusts coming off Hurricane Florence and knocking trees into power lines, said Lisa Crawley, a spokeswoman for the co-ops. "Surviving this storm will be a test of endurance, teamwork, common sense and patience".

Anadolu Agency via Getty Images A vehicle goes through a flooded street during the heavy rain of outer bands of Hurricane Florence in New Bern, North Carolina, United States on September 13, 2018.

In all, an estimated 10 million people live in areas expected to be placed under a hurricane or storm advisory, according to the U.S. Weather Prediction Center. Another 400 people were in shelters in Virginia, where forecasts were less dire.

The company said as many as three-fourths of its 4 million customers in North Carolina and SC could lose power.

Brock Long, the administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), warned the danger was not only along the coast: "Inland flooding kills a lot of people, unfortunately, and that's what we're about to see", he said.

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Roads and intersections on North Carolina's Outer Banks barrier islands were already inundated with water.

On Thursday, schools and businesses were closed as far south as Georgia, airlines canceled about 1,200 flights and counting, and coastal towns in the Carolinas were largely empty.

With the hurricane beginning to batter North Carolina, the state's Governor has asked US President Donald Trump for another federal disaster declaration beyond what he declared earlier this week. Its forward movement increased slightly to 6 miles per hour (9 kph).

The National Hurricane Center in Miami reported "life-threatening storm surge and hurricane-force winds" along the North Carolina coast.

A buoy off the North Carolina coast recorded waves almost 30 feet (9 meters) high as Florence churned toward shore. "This large-scale feature is expected to keep the hurricane moving northwestward today, followed by a turn toward the west at a much slower speed on Friday as the ridge to the north of Florence weakens due to a weak shortwave trough dropping slowly southward from the Ohio Valley".

And there are reports of another storm in the Pacific, too.

Although the storm is approaching the USA coastline as a Category 2 hurricane after weakening from a Category 4 storm, that doesn't mean the storm will be gentle.

Some areas could receive as much as 40 inches (one meter) of rain, forecasters said.

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