Hundreds more flights canceled as Florence nears the Carolina coastal area

Christopher Davidson
September 14, 2018

In its 0300 GMT advisory, the National Hurricane Center said the maximum sustained winds of Florence were 90 miles per hour (150 kilometers per hour), dropping it to the weakest of five categories on the Saffir-Simpson scale.

The Canadian government has warned citizens against travel to the stretch of the U.S. East Coast that is expected to be hammered by Florence.

As the storm continues to track toward western North Carolina and upstate SC, heavy rains in the mountains could trigger mudslides due to the region's topography, Cline added.

A buoy off the North Carolina coast recorded waves almost 30 feet (9 meters) high as Florence churned toward shore.

Separately, Toronto-Dominion Bank said it will close 17 of its 61 branches in SC and two of 14 in North Carolina. A few hearty locals gathered at Cape Fear Wine and Beer pub in downtown Wilmington.

"Well operate without power; we have candles".

"We've prepared all our supplies at home and frankly, we were bored". Jeff Merkley of OR, showed funds came out of the operations and support budget before the start of hurricane season. "You have the rain, you have the storm surge". "I am frightened about what's coming. We have two boats and all our worldly possessions", said Susan Patchkofsky, who refused her family's pleas to evacuate and stayed at Emerald Isle with her husband.

Keith Acre of North Carolina's Department of Emergency Management said: "This has been a really large evacuation and sheltering operation, probably the largest we've done, so that has not been an east lift". Millions of people were expected to lose power from the storm and restoration could take weeks.

Roads and intersections on North Carolina's Outer Banks barrier islands were already inundated with water.

Hurricane Florence weakens slightly as it moves toward USA coast: NHC
At least 12,000 people had taken refuge in 126 emergency shelters, Cooper said, with more facilities being opened. The Weather Channel's forecast video shows the potential damage such surges could inflict on the southern states.

Weather Underground meteorology director Jeff Masters said Florence eventually could strike as a Category 1 with winds less than 100 miles per hour (160 kph), but that's still enough to cause at least $1 billion in damage.

It's unclear exactly how many people fled ahead of the storm, but more than 1.7 million people in the Carolinas and Virginia were warned to clear out. Storm surge flooding also could push 2 miles (3 kilometers) or more inland if Florence lingers for days along the coast.

Up to 10 inches of rain is predicted as far west from the Atlantic Ocean as Charlotte, N.C., the NHC's Ken Graham said Thursday.

"It certainly is a challenge forecasting precise impacts when its exact track won't be known until a day in advance", Landsea said: There's "a huge difference" in the size and type of damage Florence inflicts if it stays 50 miles off shore versus heading inland immediately.

The projected path shows the storm moving from near Wilmington, North Carolina to near Columbia, South Carolina.

Cooper also requested additional federal disaster assistance in anticipation of what his office called "historic major damage" across the state.

Parts of Wilson County, farther inland, were placed under a warning about 8:30 p.m., and Dare County had another tornado warning before 9 p.m.

Antonio Ramirez, a construction worker from El Salvador living in Leland, North Carolina, said he planned to ride out the worst of the weather with his dog Canelo.

Mr Epperson said: "The anxiety level has dropped substantially".

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