Hurricane Florence: Carolinas brace for 'storm of lifetime'

Hurricane Florence: Carolinas brace for 'storm of lifetime'

Hurricane Florence: Carolinas brace for 'storm of lifetime'

The driving winds and pelting rain of Hurricane Florence's western edge began to batter the Carolinas Thursday evening, giving the region a taste of what's to come as the monster storm moves ashore Friday. Tens of thousands were without power.

Rain bands are already affecting the eastern part of North Carolina and SC, with rain increasing and waves growing.

"I have video games, board games, movies, if we still have power", he tells McCammon. There is a chance some of that tropical rainfall could pass through portions of the Northeast next Tuesday or Wednesday before we can finally say good riddance to Florence for good. "You may need to move up to the second story, or to your attic, but WE ARE COMING TO GET YOU".

Heavy bands of rain and tropical storm force winds are sweeping across the barrier islands off North Carolina and along the southeastern coast of the state.

Florence's maximum sustained winds were clocked on Thursday at 105 miles per hour (165 kph) after it was downgraded to a Category 2 on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale, according to the NHC. But while the storm is predicted to pass near Wilmington, North Carolina, the majority of surge-related flooding will actually be to north near Pamlico Sound.

Near the beach in Wilmington a Waffle House restaurant, part of a chain with a reputation for staying open during disasters, had no plans to close, even if power is lost. "Today the threat becomes a reality". Sixty-one shelters have opened in SC - 12 of which are designated for special medical needs - able to now accommodate more than 31,000 people.

For a depiction of areas at risk, please see the National Weather Service Storm Surge Watch/Warning Graphic, available at

NHC Director Ken Graham said on Facebook the storm surges could push in as far as 2 miles (3 km). The forward speed of the storm has slowed so the impacts will start to intensify and linger.

The hurricane was seen as a major test for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which was heavily criticized as sluggish and unprepared for Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico a year ago. In some counties, almost 1 in 3 people live below the poverty line.

More than 1 in 4 deaths in hurricanes come from inland flooding, which often catches people by surprise, as it can occur several hundred miles from landfall.

By midday, Spanish moss blew sideways in the trees as the winds increased in Wilmington.

"But once we get to that nine foot range this is an absolute life threatening scenario", she said.

This is why you don't mess with Mother Nature.

One forecast from weather-tracking website predicts that over the next week, the Carolinas could see as much as 11 trillion gallons of rain. That's enough water to fill the Empire State Building almost 40,000 times.

About 10 million people live in the path of the slow-moving storm and more than 1 million had been ordered to evacuate the coasts of the Carolinas and Virginia, jamming westbound roads and highways for miles. Along the coast, fewer homes have flood insurance than five years ago. She said a hurricane has a way of bringing everyone to the same level.

Holly Waters, a retired special education teacher from Wilmington, said she was happy to have a place to go to relax before the storm worsened. "Whether you have a house or not, when the storm comes it will bring everyone together".

More than 20,000 residents and businesses in eastern counties are without power, according to online updates from Duke Energy and the N.C. Electric Cooperatives.

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