Hurricane Florence: Carolinas brace for 'storm of lifetime'

West of Charleston South Carolina

West of Charleston South Carolina

The storm has sustained wind speeds of 90 miles per hour, and a total of 40 inches of rain could fall over the next few days, according to the National Hurricane Center.

The US east coast girded for a battering from Hurricane Florence late Thursday as the monster storm's outer edge began lashing the Carolinas with heavy wind and rain, which forecasters warned could trigger life-threatening floods even as it further weakened.

The storm was reduced to a Category 1 Hurricane before it crash into the US East Coast.

The annual autumnal battle between hurricanes and North America's airlines has begun raging, with the airlines, as always, in full retreat.

Hurricane Florence will be one of the biggest storms to make landfall along the USA eastern seaboard in decades.

Roy Cooper warned residents to not let their guard down ahead of Hurricane Florence's landfall later this week. North Carolina will likely see eight months' worth of rain in two to three days, said National Weather Service forecaster Brandon Locklear in a video briefing.

The coastal area of SC features hundreds of inlets while North Carolina has barrier islands miles away from the mainland. A few hearty locals gathered at Cape Fear Wine and Beer pub in downtown Wilmington. "We've prepared all our supplies at home and frankly, we were bored".

Holly Waters, a retired special education teacher from Wilmington, said she was happy to have a place to go to relax before the storm worsened. Gusty winds will send the ocean and rivers spilling into neighborhoods. Water kills more people in hurricanes than wind, and he said it will still be an extremely unsafe storm for rain and storm surge.


"It's going to coming roaring up to the coast Thursday night and say 'I'm not sure I really want to do this and I'll just take a tour of the coast and decide where I want to go inland, '" said Jeff Masters, meteorology director of the private Weather Underground.

The massive storm is larger than North Carolina and South Carolina - combined, according to South Carolina Emergency Management. "Near-total power loss is expected with outages that could last from several days to weeks".

Roads and intersections on North Carolina's Outer Banks barrier islands were already inundated with water. And even though meteorologists sort storms into categories by the strength of their winds, it's actually the storm surge that's most unsafe, as AccuWeather reported.

However, it's possible that Florence will stay just offshore, dumping rain on North Carolina as she moves south, not moving inland until she reaches Myrtle Beach.

At least 12,000 people had taken refuge in 126 emergency shelters with more facilities being opened.

Steve Goldstein of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said Florence's forward motion had slowed overnight and it was not expected to make landfall in the Carolinas until "some time Friday afternoon, Friday evening or Saturday morning". Sand dunes gone storm surge 4' into house knocking down walls first floor. It is expected start affecting North Carolina and SC as early as September 13.

Despite pleas from officials, some residents rejected calls to evacuate.

They cancelled flights into and out of Wilmington International and Charleston International this week, and even some flights from the coast to inland cities such as Columbia, S.C., and Raleigh-Durham.

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