USA coast battered by wind, rain as Hurricane Florence closes in

Christopher Davidson
September 14, 2018

Hurricane Florence battered the Carolinas early Friday with howling winds, life-threatening storm surges and torrential rains as it edged closer to the coast in what officials warned is a "once in a lifetime" event.

Florence should continue losing strength as it menders along the coast, weakening further as the storm travels across inland SC on Saturday, the weather service said.

Duke Energy told Fox News 3 million customers, which represents about 75 percent of their customers in the Carolinas, could lose power.

Screaming winds bent trees toward the ground and raindrops flew sideways as Florence's leading edge whipped the Carolina coast to begin an onslaught that could last for days, leaving a wide area under water from both heavy downpours and rising seas.

Florence has already inundated coastal streets with ocean water and forecasters say that "catastrophic" freshwater flooding is expected along waterways far from the coast of the Carolinas.

First responders in North Carolina are scrambling to rescue residents stranded in the coastal town of New Bern.

One climate model is predicting that as much as 11 trillion gallons of rain will fall on North Carolina in the coming week - an amount that's enough to fill the Empire State Building 40 times over.

Officials said some 1.7 million people in the Carolinas and Virginia were warned to evacuate, but it's unclear how many did.

Roy Cooper warned residents to not let their guard down ahead of Hurricane Florence's landfall later this week.

As of 8 a.m., the hurricane is predicted to make landfall along the coast of the Carolinas tomorrow (Sept. 14), according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Hurricane Center.

Ken Graham, director of the hurricane center, said on Facebook the storm surges could push in as far as 3 kilometers (2 miles).

'Catastrophic' Florence buffets U.S. east coast
The power companies expect millions of people to be without power for days. "I'm going to get killed on the road, '" Bradley said. Vanotteren and his friend Bailey Gaddis said the waves have gotten bigger and better every evening as the storm approaches.

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

Wild horses in the Rachel Carson Reserve in Beaufort, North Carolina will fend for themselves during Hurricane Florence.

"Some say North Carolina is getting a break, but we are on the wrong side of this story", he said.

"In a matter of seconds, my house was flooded up to the waist, and now it is to the chest", said Peggy Perry, who along with three relatives, was trapped early Friday in her New Bern home, according to CNN.

Numerous communities throughout the region have issued either mandatory or voluntary evacuation orders.

"The shelters are not taking dogs", Ramirez said.

Due to unusual steering patterns in the atmosphere, Florence may crawl southward down the Southeast coast, the opposite direction storms usually travel.

Still, some residents ignored calls to evacuate.

"I have no generator", said Petra Langston, a nurse.

"The only thing missing in there is a hot lady".

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