Hurricane Florence slams North Carolina

Frederick Owens
September 15, 2018

High winds and storm surge from Hurricane Florence hits Swansboro in North Carolina on September 14, 2018.

The center downgraded Florence to a Category 1 hurricane, but warned that it still carried "very unsafe winds".

Hours before the storm made landfall Friday, workers at New Bern's WCTI-TV NewsChannel 12 had to abandon their studio.

In Morehead City, the rain and surf pounded the shoreline and took aim at the few boats still in the water.

Stay with News 6 and ClickOrlando, com for the latest on the storm.

It was expected to begin pushing its way westward across SC later in the day, in a watery siege that could go on all weekend. At Cape Lookout there were sustained winds of 83 miles per hour and gusts of 106. The system is likely to weaken and strike as a Category 1 Hurricane as the winds have also weakened in strength a little as has been reported by the National Hurricane Center.

After coming ashore in North Carolina as a Category 1 hurricane, Florence was downgraded to a tropical storm Friday afternoon and trudged into SC as night came.

The NHC also warns of "life-threatening, catastrophic flash flooding and prolonged significant river flooding" through early next week.

Florence's fiercest winds will linger around the coast for hours since the storm was moving forward at only 6 mph (9 km/h).

North Carolina utilities estimated that as many as 2.5 million state residents could be left without power, the state's Department of Public Safety said.

"Landfall of the center will occur very soon".

The tropical cyclone is expected to unload 10 trillion gallons of rainfall in North Carolina, weather.us meteorologist Ryan Maue said.

"There is some damage. but it is still standing strong".

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Despite pleas from officials, some residents rejected calls to evacuate.

The Weather Channel has been using mixed reality to great effect with its reporting on Hurricane Florence, showing how the water may rise and swallow buildings and cars in its path.

"The sheer size of the tree was not something you could quickly cut with a chain saw", Mason said.

"I feel like the dumbest human being who ever walked the face of the earth", he said. "And since we have three dogs and three parrots, they're requesting us to purchase two to six rooms". "We're a little anxious about the storm surge so we came down to see what the river is doing now", Smith said. "He is the only caregiver to me and my son", Browning said. The flooding was caused by overflow from the Pungo River, she wrote. It's a kind gesture but doesn't alleviate Browning's fear.

"I honestly cried", Kittrell said.

Browning said she had started a GoFundMe campaign in case repairs are needed for the family home.

Rainfall also is swelling waterways: Meteorologist Ryan Maue of weathermodels.com calculated that 34 million people in the USA are forecast to get at least 3 inches of rain from Hurricane Florence, with more than 5.7 million people probably getting at least a foot of rain.

"Just because the wind speed came down, the intensity of this storm came down. please do not let your guard down", said Brock Long, the administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), earlier on Thursday.

The National Hurricane Center warned the threat of tornadoes was increasing as Florence neared shore and South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster said the heavy rains could trigger landslides in the western part of his state. And that's when people found themselves trapped in their homes as the water rose.

His bustling pizza restaurant is one of the few businesses open in the evacuated town. Rainfall of up to 20 to 40 inches could fall over the next five days in some areas, forecasters say.

He said he usually doesn't make the pizzas himself, but he was on Thursday because "everybody is scared", including most of his staff.

Other areas of South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia will see between 5 and 10 inches, with 15 inches in isolated parts.

"High winds and severe flooding from Hurricane Florence will impede the pace of our outage restoration efforts". Hurricane-force winds extended 90 miles from its center, and tropical-storm-force winds up to 195 miles. Hurricane Helene is veering toward Ireland and Great Britain.

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