Hurricane Florence Pummels NC Coast With Heavy Surf, Storm Surge

Jacob Harrelson and his wife Beth install protective plywood on a local business in anticipation of Hurricane Florence in Wilmington N.C. on Wednesday

Jacob Harrelson and his wife Beth install protective plywood on a local business in anticipation of Hurricane Florence in Wilmington N.C. on Wednesday

Prior to Hurricane Florence's landfall, more than 1.7 million were ordered to evacuate the coast.

"Cameras outside the International Space Station captured views of Hurricane Florence on September 14 at 7:41 a.m. EDT minutes after the storm made landfall near Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina packing winds of 90 miles an hour", NASA said in a video description. On the morning of September 14, the National Hurricane Centre warned that "catastrophic" flooding and "life-threatening" storm surges were expected to spread inland.

The Charleston area will see winds near tropical storm strength of 40 miles per hour and somewhere between 3 to 6 inches of rain.

As of 11 p.m. ET, Florence was centred about 135 kilometres east-southeast of Wilmington, its forward movement slowed to seven km/h.

"We already bought candles, batteries, can food items, water and so on".

Florence was seen as a major test for FEMA, which was heavily criticized as slow and unprepared past year for Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, where the storm was blamed for almost 3,000 deaths in the desperate months that followed.

And while the intensity of Florence's winds - still in the 90 miles per hour range - have diminished enough to turn it into a Category 1, the storm has grown in size as it crawls off the coast at a plodding 6 miles per hour.

Hurricane Florence will bring
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The Weather Channel on Thursday produced a terrifying Hurricane Florence weather forecast using a visualization to simulate what 9 feet of floodwater might look like in North Carolina. Florence is expected to arrive in southeast North Carolina on Friday morning before drifting south into SC. But that, combined with the storm's slowing forward movement and heavy rains, had North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper warning of an impending disaster. Hurricane-force winds extended 80 miles (130 kilometers) from its center, and tropical-storm-force winds up to 195 miles (315 kilometers).

On Friday, coastal streets in the Carolinas flowed with frothy ocean water, and pieces of torn-apart buildings flew through the air.

New Hanover County officials said Thursday morning that it could accept more residents seeking shelter at Trask Middle School, Eaton Elementary School, Codington Elementary School, the Johnson Pre-K Center and Noble Middle School.

"The time to leave is running out, there will come a time when it will be too late and the rescue teams will not be able to come because they will also have to take refuge", warned South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster. Forecasters said catastrophic freshwater flooding is expected well inland over the next few days as Florence crawls across the Carolinas. A city spokeswoman Colleen Roberts told WRAL-TV that 200 people have already been plucked to safety.

The National Hurricane Center says the Neuse River near the city is recording more than 10 feet (3.05 meters) of inundation. However, as the storm continues to track south, rainfall totals could increase. "You may need to move up to the second story, or to your attic, but WE ARE COMING TO GET YOU".

Map shows the predicted path of hurricane Florence through Tues., Sept Sept. 18. Emerald Isle is about 84 miles (135 kilometres) north of Wilmington.

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.

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