Hurricane Florence Produces Wind Gusts Near 100 miles per hour in Eastern North Carolina

Jan Cross
September 14, 2018

Florence is now a strong Category 2 storm.

What also makes Florence extremely risky are the deadly storm surges, mammoth coastal flooding and historic rainfall expected far inland.

A steady stream of vehicles full of people and belongings flowed inland as local governor Roy Cooper urged locals to flee the "monster" storm - and nuclear power plants prepare to shut down.

Undeniably enormous, and frightfully powerful, the storm has captured the imagination of astronauts watching over it from orbit.

According to the NHC's forecast discussion at 12 p.m. on September 13: "The subtropical ridge to the northeast and east of Florence is now well-established between Bermuda and the USA mid-Atlantic region and extends westward into Virginia and the central Appalachians". The massive storm is expected to dump record amounts of rain in the southeastern United States - rain that could overflow toxic chemical waste and animal manure sites along the coast, increasing danger to both public health and the environment.

He added: 'The waves and the wind this storm may bring is nothing like you've ever seen.

"You're going to have damaging winds for a longer period of time", senior hurricane specialist Stacy Stewart said in an update from the NHC. With max winds at 105 miles per hour.

"This rainfall will produce catastrophic flash flooding and prolonged significant river flooding", the briefing said.

Union Point Park is flooded with rising water from the Neuse and Trent Rivers in New Bern, N.C.

Despite the drop in maximum sustained winds, forecasters stress that this hurricane is not to be taken lightly. With Florence getting closer every day, about 1 million residents have already evacuated.

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The surge was better than the 17 percent increase recorded a year ago during the same period, the report stated. Nike aired the first commercial featuring Kaepernick during the NFL's season kickoff game Thursday night.

At a press conference Thursday morning, officials stressed that Hurricane Florence's wind speed may have fallen, but the danger has not.

Kourounis and Robinson have seen their share of hurricanes, many of them together. On Thursday morning, South 17th Street, usually teeming with commuter traffic by 6:30 a.m., was almost devoid of cars.

The police chief of a barrier island in Florence's bulls'-eye said he was asking for next-of-kin contact information from the few residents who refused to leave. Florence has weakened a bit over 24 hours, but it's also grown even larger - and it will likely dump torrential rain over North and SC through Monday.

According to authorities, however, Florence still has an enormous wind field that has been growing larger, raising the risk of the ocean surging on to land and making the hurricane extremely unsafe.

The hurricane center is forecasting the storm to hover near the coast on Saturday with winds of around 130 kph before landfall, but with rainfall ranging from 50 to 75 centimeters and up to 4 meters of storm surge. The rest of South and North Carolina, including cities from Charlotte to Raleigh, can expect 6 to 12 inches of rain - and up to 2 feet in isolated areas, the NHC warned. Heavy rains were forecast to extend into the Appalachian mountains, affecting parts of Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky and West Virginia.

States of emergency have been declared from Georgia to Maryland, underscoring just how wide Florence's impacts could be.

Hurricane Florence's sustained wind speeds have lessened slightly to 105 miles per hour, but the storm is already bringing surges and tropical storm winds to the North Carolina shore, the National Hurricane Center said in an 11 a.m. briefing.

Due to unusual steering patterns in the atmosphere, Florence may crawl southward down the Southeast coast, the opposite direction storms usually travel.

Hurricane-force winds will bring down trees and damage homes and businesses.

Duke Energy said the hurricane could knock out electricity to three-quarters of its 4 million customers in the Carolinas, and outages could last for weeks.

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