Published: Sat, September 15, 2018
Worldwide | By Angelina Lucas

At least 3 dead as Hurricane Florence pounds the Carolinas

At least 3 dead as Hurricane Florence pounds the Carolinas

That's about 220 miles from Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina, where Florence made landfall as a Category 1 hurricane at 7:15 a.m. Friday, coming ashore along a mostly boarded-up, emptied-out stretch of coastline.

Forecasters say the eye of Hurricane Florence is wobbling slowly southwestward just off the coast of southeastern North Carolina, near the border with SC.

In total, more than 10 million people face "life-threatening storm surge and hurricane-force winds" from Florence, the NHC said. Its surge could cover all but a sliver of the Carolina coast under as much as 11 feet of ocean water, and days of downpours could unload more than three feet of rain, touching off severe flooding.

With maximum sustained winds of 90 mph, the National Hurricane Center said Florence was producing hurricane-force winds that extended outward up to 80 miles from the storm's center.

North Carolina corrections officials said more than 3,000 people were relocated from prisons and juvenile detention centers in the path of Florence, and more than 300 county prisoners were transferred to state facilities.

About 10 million people could be affected by the storm and more than a million were ordered to evacuate the coasts of the Carolinas and Virginia.

The National Hurricane Center warned the threat of tornadoes was increasing as Florence neared shore and South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster said the heavy rains could trigger landslides in the western part of his state.

Forecasters say the combination of a life-threatening storm surge and the tide will cause normally dry areas near the coast to be flooded by rising waters moving inland from the shoreline. "If we lose the house, oh well, we can get housing".

Middle Georgia could have wind gusts up to 40 miles per hour Sunday afternoon and evening.

Antonio Ramirez, a construction worker from El Salvador living in Leland, North Carolina, said he planned to ride out the worst of the weather with his dog Canelo. Ocean water flowed between homes and on to streets on the Outer Banks; waves crashed against wooden fishing piers.

Duke Energy Corp, the biggest utility in the area with over 4 million customers, estimated the storm could cause between 1 million to 3 million outages.

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President Donald Trump, left, talks about Hurricane Florence during a briefing in the Oval Office of the White House.

Meteorologist Ryan Maue of weathermodels.com said Florence could dump a staggering 18 trillion gallons of rain during a week on North Carolina, South Carolinas, Virginia, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky and Maryland.

The death toll from the hurricane-turned-tropical storm climbed to at least five.

Once a Category 4 hurricane with winds of 140 miles per hour (225 kph), the hurricane was downgraded to a Category 1 on Thursday night.

TRINIS living in the U.S. were vigorously preparing themselves for Hurricane Florence which is forecast to make landfall along the eastern coast sometime today.

New Bern Mayor Dana Outlaw said in an interview with The Charlotte Observer around 5 a.m. that about 200 people had been rescued so far.

The worst of the storm's fury had yet to reach coastal SC, where emergency managers said people could still leave flood-prone areas.

But forecasters said its extreme size meant it could batter the U.S. East Coast with hurricane-force winds for almost a full day. "This will cause extremely risky flooding", the Federal Emergency Management Agency warned. About two dozen locals gathered Thursday night in the United States behind the boarded-up windows of The Barbary Coast bar as Florence blew into Wilmington. And others could only hope someone would come for them.

"Very eerie, the wind howling, the rain blowing sideways, debris flying", said Orsa, who lives nearby and feared splintering trees would pummel her house.

Swells generated by Florence have been impacting the southeastern USA, including Florida, and will continue to do so into the weekend. "We chose to hunker down".

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