Science

North Carolina coast pummeled by Hurricane Florence

North Carolina coast pummeled by Hurricane Florence

The swirl of red, yellow and green along the East Coast of the United States is Florence, a massive storm whose severity has been downgraded to Category 1 - but still packs high winds, torrential rain and storm surge.

Officials said some 1.7 million people in the Carolinas and Virginia were warned to evacuate, but it's unclear how many did.

Forecasters are predicting that Florence will make landfall in the Carolinas late Thursday or early Friday as a still powerful Category 3 hurricane.

Weather Underground meteorology director Jeff Masters said Florence eventually could strike as a Category 1 with winds less than 100 miles per hour (160 kph), but that's still enough to cause at least $1 billion in damage.

And there are reports of another storm in the Pacific, too.

In Hampton Roads, a tropical storm warning is in effect from Poquoson to the Virginia-North Carolina border, including the lower James and York rivers.

A graphic of Hurricane Florence's path, generated today (Sept. 12) at 2 p.m. ET by the National Hurricane Center, shows an approximate representation of coastal areas under a hurricane warning (red), hurricane watch (pink), tropical storm warning (blue) and tropical storm watch (yellow).

"When that last ferry pulls out.it's unnerving to see it pull away and know, 'That's the last chance I have of getting off this island, '" she said Wednesday.

No area in the USA would be able to easily deal with Hurricane Florence, but the communities in its path this time are more vulnerable than in the past.




The storm's winds may have weakened in recent days - they are now at 110mph (175km/h) - but there are fears Florence's slow-moving nature could bring different problems.

"It doesn't matter where you are", he said.

The storm was about 100 miles southeast of Wilmington and had maximum sustained winds of 100 mph, which is slightly weaker than earlier Thursday, the briefing said.

Folks in Charleston, South Carolina, who have chosen not to evacuate, are preparing for a nasty storm that could make landfall right in their backyard.

Florence's weakening as it neared the coast created tension between some who left home and authorities who anxious that the storm could still be deadly.

Hurricane Florence is coming. And Florence's large wind field will add to the perils as the storm grinds over beaches and inland.

Inmates at the Al Cannon Detention Center in Charleston County and the Berkeley County Detention Center will not be moved elsewhere, according to Buzzfeed News.

Florence's top winds were clocked on Thursday at 100mph as it churned in the Atlantic Ocean, down from a peak of 140mph earlier this week when it was classified as a Category 4. "The biggest hazard that we're anxious about is storm surge", Long said.

Baker said the rain will bring damaging flash flooding to all areas of the Wilmington region, not just low-lying areas that are particularly vulnerable. A lot of people hearing this are remembering Hurricane Hugo in 1989. Will the winds be that strong or they'll be stronger when they get here than that? "We're able", he said.


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