Weakening Hurricane Florence nears N.C. coast, to produce ‘life-threatening’ conditions

Weakening Hurricane Florence nears N.C. coast, to produce ‘life-threatening’ conditions

Police in Wilmington, North Carolina, on Friday afternoon said that a woman and an infant were killed in that city when a tree fell on their home.

The hurricane center said Florence will approach the coast Friday and linger for a while before rolling ashore. "Its a big one", he said at the White House.

For people living inland in the Carolinas, the moment of maximum peril from flash flooding could arrive days later, because it takes time for rainwater to drain into rivers and for those streams to crest.

Forecasters are also warning of catastrophic inland flooding that could swamp homes, businesses, farm fields and industrial sites.

SC officials say more than 400,000 people have evacuated the state's coast and more than 4,000 people have taken refuge in shelters as Hurricane Florence approaches. "The larger and the slower the storm is, the greater the threat and the impact - and we have that". Hurricane-force winds extended 80 miles (130 kilometers) from its center, and tropical-storm-force winds up to 195 miles (315 kilometers).

Homeless after losing her job at Walmart three months ago, 25-year-old Brittany Jones went to a storm shelter at a high school near Raleigh. Water kills more people in hurricanes than wind, and he said it will still be an extremely unsafe storm for rain and storm surge.

Right now, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Hurricane Center is predicting that Florence will become a tropical storm tomorrow (Sept. 15) over SC, continue northwest to eastern Kentucky, then swing northeast and track over most of New England early next week. The trend is "exceptionally bad news", said University of Miami hurricane researcher Brian McNoldy, since it "smears a landfall out over hundreds of miles of coastline, most notably the storm surge".

The forecast calls for as much as 40 inches (102 centimeters) of rain over seven days along the coast, with the deluge continuing even as the center of the storm pushes its way over the Appalachian Mountains.

Hurricane Florence made landfall in North Carolina on Friday, battering the state with a powerful combination of wind and rain.

The city woke Friday to the sound of exploding electrical transformers with strong gusts throwing street signs and other debris as well as water in all directions.

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"We're out of power so we spent the first few hours of the day playing board games with candles", he said.

Weather forecasters have described it as a "monster" and the most powerful storm to threaten the Carolinas in nearly 30 years.

As of 11 a.m. EDT, Florence was centered about 145 miles (230 kilometers) southeast of Wilmington, its forward movement slowed to 10 mph (17 kph).

"We're helping out a lot of people today", says Craven County Emergency Services spokesperson Amber Parker.

While winds are slowly waning, peak gusts earlier Friday topped 80 miles per hour in numerous locations, with a pair of 105 miles per hour gusts in Wilmington and Fort Macon, near Atlantic Beach.

Weather Underground meteorology director Jeff Masters said Florence eventually could strike as merely a Category 1 hurricane with winds less than 160 km/h, but that's still enough to cause at least $1 billion in damage.

The North Carolina Department of Transportation tweeted a photo of highway NC 12, showing sand had covered one lane by 7:30 a.m Thursday.

But North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper warned: "Don't relax, don't get complacent".

Roslyn Fleming, 56, said her granddaughter was baptized in the inlet near where she lives in the coastal community of Sea Breeze and on Thursday morning she used her iPad to make a video of the scene.

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