Space Station astronaut captures mammoth Hurricane Florence from directly above

Waves from Hurricane Florence pound the Bogue Inlet Pier in Emerald Isle N.C. Thursday Sept. 13 2018

Waves from Hurricane Florence pound the Bogue Inlet Pier in Emerald Isle N.C. Thursday Sept. 13 2018

Coastal streets were inundated with ocean water, causing damage to dozens of homes and businesses, officials said.

Florence's rain will be relentless, with up to 40 inches expected in some parts of the Carolina coasts, forecasters said. 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. Its forward movement was 6 miles per hour (9 kph).

A tropical storm warning means that winds of 36 miles per hour or higher are possible. Forecasters said the onslaught could last for days, leaving a wide area under water from both heavy downpours and rising seas.

As of 8am ET on Thursday, Florence was driving maximum sustained winds of 110mph (177km/h), according to an updated forecast from the National Hurricane Center. "Persons located within these areas should take all necessary actions to protect life and property from rising water and the potential for other risky conditions", the hurricane center briefing said.

Still, National Hurricane Center Director Ken Graham says there is nothing "minor" about this hurricane.

And about 46 miles farther up the waterfront, in New Bern, about 150 people were waiting to be rescued from floods on the Neuse River, WXII-TV reported.

According to the BBC, floodwaters may ride up to 13ft (4 metres) and Federal Emergency Management Agency administrator, Brock Long, explained: "So this is a very unsafe storm".

The storm's centre was about 180km east of Wilmington, North Carolina, at 2pm local time (18:00 GMT) but tropical storm-strength winds and heavy rains already were hitting North Carolina's Outer Banks barrier islands. Another 400 people were in shelters in Virginia, where forecasts were less dire.


The surge in power outages along the coast was the result of gusts coming off Hurricane Florence and blowing trees into power lines, said Lisa Crawley, a spokeswoman for the co-ops.

About 1.7 million residents across the states' coastlines are under mandatory evacuation orders, and tens of thousands of hospital patients and prison inmates have been moved out of Florence's path.

Spanish moss waved in the trees as the winds picked up in Wilmington, and floating docks bounced atop swells at Morehead City. Ocean water flowed between homes and on to streets on the Outer Banks; waves crashed against wooden fishing piers.

A state of emergency has been declared in five coastal states - North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Maryland and Virginia.

After it weakens inland, Florence is predicted to turn northward, raising concern about how additional rainfall - even from a significantly weakened storm - will impact the southwestern portion of the commonwealth, which is already water-logged.

About 5.25 million people live in areas under hurricane warnings or watches, and 4.9 million live in places covered by tropical storm warnings or watches, the National Weather Service said. The storm was a unsafe Category 4 hurricane Wednesday but was downgraded Thursday night to a Category 1 storm.

What damage will it cause?

After criticism for its response in Puerto Rico to last year's Hurricane Maria, which officials there said was responsible for 3,000 deaths, Trump has vowed a vigorous response to Florence and defended his handling of Maria.

Recommended News

We are pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news.
Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper.
Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.