Published: Wed, October 10, 2018
Science | By Patricia Jimenez

Flood waters rise as Florence pummels Carolinas; at least 8 dead

Flood waters rise as Florence pummels Carolinas; at least 8 dead

The storm is expected to approach the coast, between SC and North Carolina on Friday, where the force of the hurricane winds will be felt before it makes landfall on Saturday between Myrtle Beach and Wilmington with a swell that will reach more than 10 feet tall, as reported by the National Hurricane Center.

As of 11am local time, the storm was centred 485 miles south east of Wilmington, North Carolina, moving at 15mph.

As of 8.00am (1200 GMT), it was packing sustained winds of 130 miles (210 kilometres) per hour, the Miami-based National Hurricane Center (NHC) said.

Besides inundating the coast with wind-driven storm surges of seawater as high as 13 feet (4 meters) along the Carolina coast, Florence could dump 20 to 30 inches (51-76 cm) of rain, with up to 40 inches in parts of North Carolina, the NHC said.

"This will likely be the storm of a lifetime", the National Weather Service in Wilmington, North Carolina said.

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McMaster ordered mandatory evacuation of coastal SC counties on Tuesday.

Hurricane Florence continues its march towards the East Coast of the United States today, and astronauts aboard the International Space Station got a birds-eye view of just how large the swirling vortex has grown. For storm surge, people should evacuate, while for wind, they can stay in place in a strong structure as long as it's away from flood-prone areas, Knabb said. US President Donald Trump on Twitter warned of the storm's dangers and praised his administration's handling of past hurricanes, rejecting criticism for its response to Hurricane Maria previous year in Puerto Rico.

The threat has sparked a rush of evacuation efforts in SC and North Carolina, with more than a million people urged to get out of Florence's way.

Forecasters are predicting that Florence will make landfall in the Carolinas late Thursday or early Friday as a slightly weakened but still risky Category 3 hurricane. It may drift around the South Carolina/North Carolina border for about 24 to 36 hours.

Up to 3 million of Duke Energy's 4 million Carolina customers could experience outages, the company said. "Florence is expected to slow down considerably by late Thursday into Friday, and move slowly through early Saturday".

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The hurricane, which originated in the ocean off the west coast of Africa, is now being called a Category 4 storm on the Saffir-Simpson scale. From there, people will be transported to open shelters, he said.

Walking his dog along empty streets, Belli said he's well stocked with food and water.

This means Florence could hover over the southeast states, pouring unsafe rainfall causing flash flooding and river flooding - some areas are forecast to get from 15 to 20 inches to 30 inches or more localized areas.

On Wednesday morning, Florence was extending hurricane-force winds outward up to 70 miles from its center, with tropical storm-force winds up to 175 miles outward.

"We'll handle it. We're ready, we're able, we've got the finest people I think anywhere in the world". With that much size and strength, even a glancing blow from Florence could be devastating - something forecasters stressed as they noted the shift in Florence's predicted track.

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To back up that point, Graham cited a sobering statistic: "50 percent of the fatalities in these tropical systems is the storm surge - and that's not just along the coast". "We know there's probably going to be loss of power for a number of days".

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