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North Carolina feels first bite of mammoth Hurricane Florence

14 September 2018
North Carolina feels first bite of mammoth Hurricane Florence

"Devastating damage will occur: Well-built framed homes may incur major damage or removal of roof decking and gable ends". "Don't plan to leave once the winds and rains start".

Florence, the most ominous for United States residents, is expected to make landfall today. Storm surge of 13 feet on top of a high tide at 7 feet could overwhelm the town.

The result could be what the Houston area saw during Hurricane Harvey just over a year ago: catastrophic inland flooding that could swamp homes, businesses, farm fields and industrial sites.

Florence's nighttime winds were down to 110 miles per hour from a high of 140 miles per hour, and the Category 3 storm fell to a Category 2, with a further slow weakening expected as the storm nears the coast. These unforgiving winds will damage homes and buildings, down trees and knock out power.

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

"The combination of a risky storm surge and the tide will cause normally dry areas near the coast to be flooded by rising waters moving inland from the shoreline", according to the National Hurricane Center.

It is predicted to deliver tropical-storm-force winds by noon Thursday to North Carolina's coast, and hurricane-force winds and unsafe storm surges by late Thursday or early Friday.

This rainfall could cause unsafe flash flooding. Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 80 miles from the center, while tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 195 miles.

At last report, the storm was about 180 kilometers east-southeast of Wilmington, North Carolina and about 270 kilometers east of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

"This is a big storm, physically, very large".

Florence's maximum sustained winds were clocked on Thursday at 165 kph after it was downgraded to a Category 2 on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale, according to the NHC.

President Donald Trump has declared states of emergency for North and SC and Virginia, and 1.7 million people have been warned to leave.

An estimated 10 million people live in areas expected to be placed under a hurricane or storm advisory, according to the US Weather Prediction Centre.

Because landfalling hurricanes commonly spawn twisters, a tornado watch was issued for eastern North Carolina.

Like a bulldozer, the storm's winds and forward motion will push a tremendous amount of water onshore when it makes landfall. "I encourage Georgians to be prepared for the inland effects of the storm as well as the ensuing storm surge in coastal areas".

As Hurricane Florence bears down on the North and SC coasts, some residents are ignoring officials' calls to evacuate. The governors of North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and Georgia declared emergencies to help speed up government aid efforts.

Even worse: Florence is expected to hover over the Carolinas, whipping hurricane-force winds and dumping relentless rain at least through Saturday.

"Floodwaters may enter numerous structures, and some may become uninhabitable or washed away", the Weather Service warned. The slow forward motion means Florence will batter the area with heavy rainfall, producing up to 40 inches in coastal North Carolina and northeastern SC. North and SC already faced flooding earlier this summer. But forecasters also said the opposite could happen when it brushed up against strong wind shear.