Published: Mon, September 17, 2018
Sci-tech | By Carrie Guzman

At least 20,000 without power in N.C. as Florence approaches

At least 20,000 without power in N.C. as Florence approaches

Florence's top winds were clocked on Thursday evening at 90 miles per hour (150 km/h) as it churned in the Atlantic Ocean, down from a peak of 140 miles per hour (224 km/h) earlier this week when it was classified a Category 4 storm.

At least 88,000 people were without power in North Carolina with the brunt of the storm yet to come, according to the state's emergency management agency. "We got thrown into mailboxes, houses, trees", said Holt, who had stayed at home because of a doctor's appointment that was later canceled.

Florence, though downgraded to a Category 2 storm on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale, remained unsafe and unpredictable, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) said. In some counties, almost 1 in 3 people live below the poverty line.

It was forecast to make landfall mid-day Friday near Cape Fear, North Carolina, bringing up to 40 inches (1 meter) of rain, and storm surges as high as 13 feet (4 meters), the NHC said.

"It looks heavy outside", she said.

He said hurricane-force winds extend outward 130 km (80 miles) from the centre of the storm and tropical storm-force winds extend almost 322 km (200 miles) out.

"This storm will bring destruction to North Carolina".

He spent the last few hours of calm before the storm visiting those who stayed, collecting contact information for their next-of-kin.

Roberts, the city spokeswoman, said Friday preliminary estimates show about 4,300 residences and 300 commercial buildings had been damaged. Federal emergency management officials warned that Florence - while weakening slightly - remains a "very unsafe storm" capable of wreaking havoc along a wide swathe of the coast.

Traffic patterns indicate that many people are leaving the Carolinas, however.

Another Wilmington resident said she does not want to leave because she is afraid to see what she would be coming back to.

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Meanwhile, lane reversals on USA 501 in the Grand Strand ended at noon Thursday and reversals on I-26 ended Thursday night, allowing state police and transportation workers to get to safety before the storm hits.

About 1.7 million residents across the states' coastlines are under mandatory evacuation orders, and tens of thousands of hospital patients and prison inmates have been moved out of Florence's path.

"It was pitch black and I was just scared out of my mind", said Tracy Singleton, who with her family later drove through torrential rain and high winds from her home near New Bern to a hotel some almost 80 miles (130 km) away.

Associated Press story by Johanthan Drew.

"It truly is really about the whole size of this storm", National Hurricane Center Director Ken Graham said.

Hurricane Florence, the powerful category 2 storm, continues to churn towards the North Carolina and SC border and a local woman is stuck in the storm's path. Another 8 million people live in areas covered by hurricane and tropical storm warnings. "Our flooding issue is only going to get worse".

The National Weather Service is forecasting "significant" river flooding, especially in the northeastern portion of the state. Duke Energy, a local power company, estimated that up to three million customers could lose their supply as a result of Florence.

A surge is also likely along portions of the SC coast.

Scientists said it is too soon to say what role, if any, global warming played in the storm.

"Inland flooding kills a lot of people, unfortunately, and that's what we're about to see", he said.

"I think they pulled them for safety reasons", Richard Porter, the mayor pro-tem of Atlantic Beach, said on Thursday afternoon.

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