'Catastrophic' Florence buffets U.S. east coast

Christopher Davidson
September 14, 2018

US Southeast power companies said more than 188,000 homes and businesses in North Carolina and SC were without power early Friday as Hurricane Florence caused a deluge ahead of its landfall later in the day.

Hurricane-force winds began whipping North Carolina as federal emergency management officials warned that the hurricane remained a "very unsafe storm" capable of wreaking havoc along a wide swathe of the coast.

Hurricane Florence's outer edges have started to batter the coast of North Carolina - with winds of 100mph bending trees and shooting frothy seawater onto the streets. The power companies expect millions of people to be without power for days. "I'm going to get killed on the road, '" Bradley said.

The National Weather Service forecasts minor to major flooding along rivers anywhere from the Carolinas to Maryland in the coming days.

The National Hurricane Center said late Thursday that Florence has brought a life-threatening storm surge and hurricane-force winds to the North Carolina Coast. Vanotteren and his friend Bailey Gaddis said the waves have gotten bigger and better every evening as the storm approaches.

At 5pm pm (2100 GMT), Florence was over the Atlantic Ocean about 100 miles (160 kilometers) east-southeast of Wilmington, North Carolina, and moving west-northwest at five miles per hour, the NHC said.

Florence remained a serious threat, packing maximum sustained winds of 105 miles-an-hour Thursday afternoon with hurricane force winds extending 80 miles from the center.

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He said hurricane-force winds extended outward 80 miles from the center of the storm and tropical storm-force winds extended almost 200 miles out.

The center said that a gauge in Emerald Isle, North Carolina, recently reported 6.3 feet (1.92 meters) of inundation. And even though meteorologists sort storms into categories by the strength of their winds, it's actually the storm surge that's most unsafe, as AccuWeather reported.

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.

Roy Cooper urged residents in evacuation areas of his state to get out while they still can.

A North Carolina city says about 70 people have been rescued from a hotel whose structural integrity is being threatened by Hurricane Florence.

Will Epperson, a 36-year-old golf course assistant superintendent, said he and his wife had planned to ride out the storm at their home in Hampstead, North Carolina, but reconsidered due to its ferocity. "The anxiety level has dropped substantially", Epperson said.

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