North Carolina coast feels Florence’s first blast of wind, rain

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Time is running short to get out of the way of Hurricane Florence, a monster of a storm that has a region of more than 10 million people in its potentially devastating sights.

"The larger and slower the storm is, the greater the threat and impact, and we have that here", NHC Director Ken Graham said on Thursday.

"Little change in strength is expected before the center reaches the coast, with weakening expected after the center moves inland", the National Hurricane Center said.

He added: "This is a very risky storm".

The wide storm has weakened to a Category 2 hurricane and forecasters expect top winds to drop more as it nears the shore, but they're sharing a giant dose of uncertainty.

The police chief says he's not going to put his people in harm's way, especially for people they've already told to evacuate.

Hurricane Florence carries a heavy risk of flash floods as it brings up to 13-foot storm surge and a possible 40 inches of rain to the Carolina coast.

SC ordered the mandatory evacuation of one million coastal residents while North Carolina ordered an evacuation of the Outer Banks, barrier islands that are a popular tourist destination.

Storm surge is why many of you have been placed under evacuation and we are asking citizens to please heed a warning.

Hurricane expert Dr Rick Knabb warns: "Yes good news that intensity of Florence has come down, to lessen wind damage somewhat".

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Henry McMaster reminded people of the dangers of Hurricane Florence despite an ever-changing forecast now pointing it more towards North Carolina.

THE life-threatening hurricane, Florence, is expected to hover the Carolinas in the U.S. with torrential rains, high winds and massive coastal erosion.

McMaster warned that once tropical storm-force winds begin moving in, rescuers will not be able to assist people because the rescuers themselves will be moving to safety.

Hours before a mandatory evacuation took effect, Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina, resident Phoebe Tesh paused while loading her vehicle to have a glass of wine on the steps of the house where she and her husband rent an apartment. Workers are being brought in from the Midwest and Florida to help in the storm's aftermath, it said.

SC officials say more than 400,000 people have evacuated the state's coast and more than 4,000 people have taken refuge in shelters as Hurricane Florence approaches.

She says people often want to get outside and take pictures.

Hurricane conditions will likely hit the Carolina coast on Thursday night or early Friday.

Hurricanes are categorized on a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being the strongest.

That's because the weather systems that usually push and pull a storm are disappearing as Florence nears land around the border between North and SC. The gradually slowing but still life-threatening storm is moving northwest at 15 miles per hour (24 kph).

Florence was moving west-southwest at about 5 miles per hour (7 km/h), with its centre located over eastern SC.

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