Hurricane Florence Brings Life-Threatening Storm Surge To The Carolinas

  • Hurricane Florence Brings Life-Threatening Storm Surge To The Carolinas

Hurricane Florence Brings Life-Threatening Storm Surge To The Carolinas

More than a million people along the coastlines of North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia have been ordered to evacuate. "This is an extremely risky situation". But that, combined with the storm's slowing forward movement and heavy rains, had Gov. Roy Cooper warning of an impending disaster.

Storm surge is caused in part by the brunt of hurricane force winds.

Forecasters said that given the storm's size and sluggish track, it could cause epic damage akin to what the Houston area saw during Hurricane Harvey just over a year ago, with floodwaters swamping homes and businesses and washing over industrial waste sites and hog-manure ponds.

Reports said coastal streets in North Carolina were flooded and winds bent trees to the ground as the storm, which has been downgraded to Category 1 and is weakened and slower moving than in recent days, prepared to make landfall at some point on Friday.

Landfall is expected late Thursday or early Friday, and the National Hurricane Center fears the storm "will slow considerably or stall, leading to a prolonged and exceptionally heavy and risky rainfall event Friday-Sunday".

Glenda Dougherty, also on the flight, was scheduled to come to Northeast Ohio for a wedding in a few weeks, but the storm altered her plans.

Florence's hurricane force winds now extends 80 miles from the center, while the tropical storm force winds reaches almost 200 miles, according to the National Hurricane Center.

Florence could bring wind-driven storm surges of seawater as high as four metres and NHC Director Ken Graham said on Facebook they could push in as far as three kilometres. Flash flooding is going to be a big issue soon - certainly catastrophic.

After maintaining Category 4 or 3 status most of Wednesday, Florence was a Category 2 storm with maximum sustained winds of 110 mph churning about 205 miles southeast of Wilmington, according to a 5 a.m. briefing by the National Hurricane Center.

Hurricane Florence battered the Carolinas early Friday with howling winds, life-threatening storm surges and torrential rains as it edged closer to the coast in what officials warned is a "once in a lifetime" event.

The storm rotates due to the spin of the earth and energy from the warm ocean increases wind speeds as it builds. "Significant river flooding is expected as a result of excessive rainfall across area hydrologic basins".

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

Florence's weakening as it neared the coast created tension between some who left home and authorities who anxious that the storm could still be deadly.

At least 12,000 people had taken refuge in 126 emergency shelters, Cooper said, with more facilities being opened. On Thursday morning, South 17th Street, usually teeming with commuter traffic by 6:30 a.m., was almost devoid of cars. Tidal creeks throughout Brunswick, New Hanover, and Pender counties will also be at risk.

In a press conference Wednesday morning, Beaufort County Sheriff P.J. Tanner said the county is in "standby mode" and urged residents to leave the area sooner rather than later.