Hurricane Florence Loses Steam, but Shifting Forecast Predicts Huge Rainfall

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Upon its arrival, the National Hurricane Center projects that Florence could drop anywhere from 20-40 inches of rain along the Carolina coast.

"It truly is really about the whole size of this storm", National Hurricane Center Director Ken Graham told The Associated Press.

"Do not focus on the wind speed category of #Hurricane #Florence!" the National Hurricane Center said Thursday morning.

The storm surge - often the most perilous risk to life posed by any hurricane - is expected to inundate areas along the coast with saltwater that's 9 to 13 feet deep, from Cape Fear, N.C., to Cape Lookout, N.C.

North Carolina and SC are bracing for the onslaught, which could bring storm surges as high as nine feet and rainfall of as much as 40 inches in some areas. As the storm moves inland, Georgia, Virginia, and Maryland will also be in peril.

Even miles away from the Atlantic, North Carolina residents in low-lying areas are boarding up and emptying stores.

But between evacuations and storm shutter installations, NASA and NOAA are keeping people informed and entertained.

Marshall: When should we now expect landfall along the coast? His remarks fell flat in Puerto Rico where islanders are continuing to struggle to recover a year after the Category 4 storm. Sixty-one shelters have opened in SC - 12 of which are designated for special medical needs - able to now accommodate more than 31,000 people.

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The surge will result in "large areas of deep inundation. enhanced by battering waves", the Weather Service said.

With their entire neighborhood evacuated in Wilmington, North Carolina, David and Janelle Garrigus planned to ride out Florence at their daughter's one-bedroom apartment in Charlotte. REUTERS/Chris KeanePeople walk past a boarded up building before Hurricane Florence comes ashore in Carolina Beach, North Carolina, U.S., September 12, 2018.

As of Tuesday, about 1.7 million people in North and SC and Virginia were under warnings to evacuate the coast, and hurricane watches and warnings extended across an area with about 5.4 million residents.

She added: "The feeling is that it's the wind that's going to be the issue rather than rain and we're probably looking at gale-force winds". And newly formed Subtropical Storm Joyce is not expected to threaten land soon. Florence is now a strong Category 2 storm.

Duke Energy, a power company in the Carolinas, estimated that one million to three million customers could lose electricity because of the storm and that it could take weeks to restore. But forecasters also said the opposite could happen when it brushed up against strong wind shear.

North Carolina is home to millions of trees, Kourounis noted, and those trees are likely to come down, taking out power lines.

A power outage model run at the University of MI projects that 3.2 million customers will be without electricity because of the storm, mostly in the eastern half of North Carolina. As serene as the images are, it's hard to imagine what conditions are like in the storm and on the water under it.

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