HURRICANE FLORENCE: Damage will be heavy, long lasting

Cristina Cross
September 14, 2018

Hurricane Florence, now a Category 1 storm, continued its slow march toward land, with heavy rain bands lashing the southeast North Carolina coast as it approached Cape Fear.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center's best guess was that Florence would blow ashore as early as Friday afternoon around the North Carolina-South Carolina line, then slog its rainy way westward with a potential for catastrophic inland flooding that could swamp homes, businesses and farm fields.

Hurricane Florence's leading edge battered the Carolina coast Thursday, bending trees and shooting frothy sea water over streets on the Outer Banks, as the hulking storm closed in with 100 miles per hour (155 kph) winds for a drenching siege that could last all weekend. Florence's center will approach the North and SC coasts late Thursday and Friday.

New video footage shows Hurricane Florence's storm surge inundating parts of North Carolina's beach.

In total, over 5.25 million people live in areas under hurricane warnings or watches and another 4.9 million people are under tropical storm warnings or watches.

Her neighbors gave her the key to their house, which is two stories and might be safer from flooding, she said.

Invest 95L, which is the National Hurricane Center designation for the system we are watching in the central Gulf of Mexico, may organize into at least a tropical depression before impacting the western Gulf coast from Mexico through Texas to Louisiana by Friday.

President Donald Trump said Wednesday protecting lives is his "absolute highest priority".

Florence is already making its presence felt along the coast of North Carolina. Airlines canceled almost 1,000 flights and counting. "It was located farther north in the Atlantic than any other storm to ever hit the Carolinas, so what we're forecasting is unprecedented", Moss said.

Hurricane Florence seen maintaining strength as it approaches coast: NHC
This storm surge can be deadly and then the flooding that will come thereafter with rain being measured in feet instead of inches. Heavy rains were forecast to extend into the Appalachians, affecting parts of Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky and West Virginia .

The company is also lifting speed caps restrictions for first responders in Alabama, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia, according to a statement.

Florence's eyewall reached shore near Wilmington, N.C., just before 6 a.m. ET Friday morning; landfall was expected to follow near Wrightsville Beach soon afterward.

Cooper and South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster told more than 1 million people who were directed to leave that if they don't evacuate, no one will come to save them.

"I ask all Georgians to join me in praying for the safety of our people and all those in the path of Hurricane Florence", Deal said.

Meanwhile, winds and rain were expected to arrive later in SC, and a few people were still walking on the sand at Myrtle Beach while North Carolina was getting pounded.

"I'm lucky to be here today, but wherever they're going to send me I'm going". "We're able", he said.

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. "If we lose the house, oh well, we can get housing".

Storm surge warnings and hurricane warnings are in effect for all of North Carolina and most of SC. The storm's forward speed had slowed to 5 miles per hour and forecasters were concerned it might have stalled.

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