Oklahoma search and rescue helicopter team leaves for Hurricane Florence

Jan Cross
September 15, 2018

With state governments in SC and North Caroline issuing evacuations along the coast and other potential flood zones, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has said that it is mobilizing for a storm that could knock out power for weeks and lead to the displacement of tens if not hundreds of thousands of residents across multiple states. The center said the waves were measured by satellite. Now waiting for the hurricane in Washington, which also declared a state of emergency.

The threat of storm surges loom for areas in the path of the storm, meaning life-threatening inundation from rising water moving inland is possible in the next 36 hours. The homes of about 10 million were under watches or warnings for the hurricane or tropical storm conditions.

The storm's first casualties included a mother and her baby, who died when a tree fell on their brick house in Wilmington, North Carolina.

Its surge could cover all but a sliver of the Carolina coast under as much as 11ft of ocean water, and days of downpours could unload more than 3ft of rain, touching off severe flooding. It's expected to strike far north of where Hurricane Hazel arrived, close to the South Carolina/North Carolina border, in October 1954. The downtown area was underwater.Calls for help multiplied as the wind picked up and tide rolled in, city public information officer Colleen Roberts said. It will possibly weaken somewhat as it nears land - but that will hardly change the flooding threat.

ESE Florence swell drops out quickly once the storm is over land, however strong southerly swell then builds in on Friday and continues this weekend, mainly for Southern NC while SC looks small scale.

The heavy rain expected from Hurricane Florence could flood hog manure pits, coal ash dumps and other industrial sites in North Carolina, creating a noxious witches' brew of waste that might wash into homes and threaten drinking water supplies. Florence is a powerful category 4 hurricane and is expected to gain even more strength later in the day.

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At least 12,000 people had taken refuge in 126 emergency shelters, Cooper said, with more facilities being opened. Waves from Hurricane Florence pound the Bogue Inlet Pier in Emerald Isle, N.C., September 13, 2018.

Parts of North and SC were forecast to get as much as 40 inches of rain (1 metre).

Florence is predicted to turn more toward the northwest through Thursday - but then is expected to head more west-northwest and stall a bit over the Carolinas.

Once a Category 4 hurricane with winds of 140 miles per hour, the hurricane was downgraded to a Category 1 on Thursday night. Additional swell courtesy of other activity in the tropics keeps plenty of fun surf around for the weekend, so stay tuned to the regional forecast updates for the latest.

To back up that point, Graham cited a sobering statistic: "50 percent of the fatalities in these tropical systems is the storm surge - and that's not just along the coast".

"Bad things can happen when you're talking about a storm this size", Trump said Wednesday morning.

Authorities, including President Trump and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), are urging residents in the Carolinas as well as parts of Virginia and Georgia to evacuate as the storm continues its path. "You're not being asked to leave but we would encourage you to do what you think is best".

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