Winds, rain intensify as Hurricane Florence pummels North Carolina

Doug Lewis (L) and Chris Williams use plywood with the words "Looters will be shot" to cover the windows of Knuckleheads bar as they try to protect the business ahead of the arrival of Hurricane Florence.

While the storm system will churn over the same areas for 24 hours, the high winds and rain will begin pummeling parts of North and South Carolina Thursday evening and last through Saturday - creating a 36 to 48-hour period of unsafe weather for some areas.

The National Weather Service said as much as 18cm of rain had fallen overnight in some coastal areas.

"We are in constant contact with moms who are close to delivery dates, before the storm, and we advise them to maybe leave the county, because there is a time. that they won't be able to travel during the storm", he tells McCammon.

People in areas vulnerable to the unsafe hurricane, particularly those in coastal regions, have fled ahead of the storm.

"Gradual weakening is forecast while Florence moves farther inland during the next couple of days, and it is expected to weaken to a tropical depression" by Saturday night, the center said in a bulletin.

"Your time is running out", he warned.

"The storm surge forecast with this storm has not changed", warned Brock Long, the head of FEMA. "I can not emphasise that enough". Gerst pleaded with people living in the area to heed evacuation orders, warning them there is a "nightmare coming for you".

At least 88,000 people were without power in North Carolina with the brunt of the storm yet to come, according to the state's emergency management agency.

What's the situation on the ground?

Winds were already picking up along the coastline early Thursday and some minor flooding was reported on the Outer Banks, barrier islands off the coast of North Carolina, and in some seaside coastal towns.

"However, intense rainbands are expected to develop over the Atlantic waters and keep moving along the coast and inland, likely producing strong wind gusts through Saturday (Sept. 15) night", said the NHC in a discussion of the storm. Parts of the Carolinas could see 50 cm to 76 cm, with isolated areas getting 101 cm, over seven days along the coast.

About 10 million people live in the storm's path and more than 1 million had been ordered to evacuate the coasts of the Carolinas and Virginia.

A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for. The storm knocked out power to more than 890,000 homes and businesses, according to poweroutage.us, which tracks the USA electrical grid.

Florence, set to make landfall on Friday, was expected to cover nearly all of North Carolina in metres of water, State Governor Roy Cooper told reporters.

Emergency workers are arriving from other parts of the USA to aid in rescues.

Over 160 swift-water rescue boat crews, 2,800 National Guardsmen, and fire and EMS teams who'd come in from across the country were also mobilized and ready.

Life-threatening storm surges and hurricane-force winds are occurring along the North Carolina coast, with the threat of freshwater flooding seen increasing over the next several days, it added.

Scientists said it is too soon to say what role, if any, global warming played in the storm. I love hurricanes. But this one has been an experience for me. Hurricanes feed off the heat in the warm surface of the ocean and typically lose power when they hit land. Because when flowing river waters meet the ocean surge, there's really nowhere else for the water to go.

A hotter atmosphere can also hold more water, so this should allow hurricanes to dump more water on affected areas.

  • Carolyn Briggs