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14 September 2018, 04:06 | Edward Lowe
Hurricane Florence weakens but deluges Carolinas ahead of landfall
Inland cities and towns will not be spared from the storm, with anywhere from 5-20 inches of rain forecast to fall in many parts of North and SC. "Our greatest concern about this storm remains the same - storm surge and massive flooding", he said.
If the European model is true or the overall trend persists, University of Miami hurricane researcher Brian McNoldy said it "is exceptionally bad news, as it smears a landfall out over hundreds of miles of coastline, most notably the storm surge".
Florence's maximum sustained winds were clocked on Thursday at 165 kph after it was downgraded to a Category 2 on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale, according to the NHC.
"We're a little anxious about the storm surge so we came down to see what the river is doing now", said Linda Smith, 67, a retired nonprofit director.
Altogether there are almost three thousand dams of various sizes in Virginia, almost 3,500 in North Carolina and about 2,500 in SC. Tropical-storm-force winds are between 39 and 73 miles per hour. Like a giant hair dryer, these winds push seawater into low-lying marshland and delta areas.
While Florence's winds won't be as intense as first feared, the storm could dump as much as 3 feet of rain and generate storm surges as high as 13 feet in coastal areas, the weather service said. The storm may gradually drift into northeast SC.
Forecasters said "catastrophic" freshwater flooding was expected along waterways far from the coast of the Carolinas. But even much lower flood levels can be risky and reach surprisingly far inland, as The Weather Channel demonstrated in a stunning video released today. That makes it hard to project how the region will ultimately be affected.
In New Bern, North Carolina - where forecasters say the Neuse River could experience 11 feet of storm surge, more than 150 people were reported to be trapped late on Thursday.
Once the centre moves inland, the intensity of the hurricane is set to decrease, according to a forecast discussion posted on the NHC's website. "We are totally prepared", Trump said at the White House. The homes of about 10 million were under watches or warnings for the hurricane or tropical storm conditions.
Flooding risks are also causing worries over the more than 300 wild horses living on North Carolina's coasts.
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Duke Energy Corp expected between 25 percent and 75 percent of its 4 million customers would lose power in the Carolinas. More than 80,000 people were already without power as the storm approached, and more than 12,000 were in shelters.
"We've got to quickly understand the damage that's been done to the transportation systems, the communication systems, the power systems, and we are positioning, and have bene positioned for multiple days now, to get those critical lifelines back up and stable as quickly as we can", he said.
"We're not the Grand Hyatt, but it's an option for people", said Mr. Brady, who thanked everyone for the comments on his post, which has been viewed nearly 1 million times.
He spent the last few hours of calm before the storm visiting those who stayed, collecting contact information for their next-of-kin. By Thursday afternoon, 220 evacuees had arrived to fill each cabin, bringing with them 95 children and 55 dogs, camp director Tim Brady said.
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USA carriers were also waiting to see what impact Florence could have on airports near Washington and in northern Virginia. On Thursday morning, South 17th Street, usually teeming with commuter traffic by 6:30 a.m., was almost devoid of cars.