Hurricane Florence Reduces Its Intensity But Not Its Destructive Power

Cristina Cross
September 14, 2018

More than 1.7 million people in the Carolinas and Virginia were warned to evacuate over the past few days, and the homes of about 10 million were under watches or warnings for the hurricane or tropical storm conditions. It has garnered the attention of people not just in the United States but from people around the globe.

"A state of emergency is a good indicator that residents should remain alert and follow officials' orders, news stations and weather forecasts in order to be informed of the situation", Russell Strickland, executive director of the Maryland Emergency Management Agency, said in a statement earlier this week.

Two women who were riding out the storm dance to the music outside the Barbary Coast bar in downtown Wilmington, N.C., as Hurricane Florence threatens the coast, September 13, 2018. "To those in the storm's path, if you can hear me, please stay sheltered in place". As of Friday morning, many of those holdouts appeared to have won that bet, with a handful of exceptions.

And about 46 miles (74 kilometres) farther up the waterfront, in New Bern, about 150 people were waiting to be rescued from floods on the Neuse River, WXII-TV reported.

Still, the storm has the capacity for huge destruction.

Corps staff worked with Army officials to review dams at Fort Bragg in North Carolina and Fort Jackson in SC to "ensure any effects of Florence on those dams are mitigated", said Ray Alexander, the Corps' inter-agency services chief.

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. Gradual weakening is forecast later today and tonight.

In Hampton Roads, a tropical storm warning is in effect from Poquoson to the Virginia-North Carolina border, including the lower James and York rivers. "We knew it was coming, and we're working very hard to keep our citizens safe", Outlaw said.

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Florence, set to make landfall on Friday, was expected to cover nearly all of North Carolina in several feet of water, State Governor Roy Cooper told reporters. The two hardware chains said they sent in a total of around 1,100 trucks. That experience involved hours of bumper-to-bumper traffic and a days-long wait for authorities to reopen the bridge that connects the mainland to Carolina Beach. The storm is massive and was a Category 4 hurricane at its worst that will devastate anything it encounters.

Ryland Mason, who owns a roofing business in Carolina Beach, said he wanted to stay put so he could help neighbors - he has four-wheel-drive trucks, generators and chainsaws. "You feel like you should have already left". "I just feel like I need to help my people".

But the potential threats presented by Florence are not yet over.

Service forecaster Brandon Locklear predicted Florence would drop up to eight months of rain in two or three days. However, the surge is expected to be accompanied by large and destructive waves, regardless of when the storm arrives.

Fatal hazards: historically, 49% of U.S. hurricane deaths come from storm surge, 27% from rain, 8% from wind, 6% from surf, 6% were offshore and 3% from tornadoes.

He said: "Surviving this storm will be a test of endurance, teamwork, common sense and patience". "I'd be fairly optimistic that will be the case as a result of this storm".

The storm's maximum sustained winds held at about 145kph.

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