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People along North Carolina coast share Snapchats of Hurricane Florence
15 September 2018, 06:01 | Erica Roy
‘Catastrophic’ flooding expected by NHC; Hurricane Florence eyewall now reaching North Carolina coast
Forecasters warned of catastrophic flooding and other mayhem from the monster storm, which is only Category 1 but physically sprawling and risky.
Downgraded but unsafe: Though now a Category 1 storm, hurricane-force winds extend 80 miles from Florence's center, and it will linger for days, with prolonged winds and rain making it more risky.
"I've never been one to leave for a storm but this one kind of had me spooked", Epperson said.
By early afternoon, Florence's winds had weakened to 75 miles per hour, just barely a hurricane and well below the storm's terrifying Category 4 peak of 140 miles per hour earlier in the week. Hurricane-force winds extended 80 miles from its centre, and tropical-storm-force winds up to 195 miles.
Up to 40 inches could drench the worst affected areas, the NHC said.
But weather officials have cautioned that Florence's promise of heavy rains - and the flash flooding and prolonged flooding it will cause - likely will be the storm's most risky impact, especially since the storm surges will block the usual flow of water back to the ocean.
Brock Long, the administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), warned the danger was not only along the coast: "Inland flooding kills a lot of people, unfortunately, and that's what we're about to see", he said. As Cooper said, "There's nowhere for the water to go".
Many residents were ordered to evacuate the Carolinas and Virginia before the storm hit, but it's not clear how many heeded the warnings.
Some pretty incredible video is coming out of the Carolinas with Hurricane Florence barreling down on the states.
In New Bern, population 29,000, flooding on the Neuse River trapped people, and Mayor Dana Outlaw told The Charlotte Observer that about 200 had been rescued by 5 a.m. Residents reached out for help through the night by phone and social media.
And they say people who are truly in an emergency should call 911, not just Tweet about it.
The area is expected to get about as much rain in three days as Hurricanes Dennis and Floyd dropped in two weeks in 1999. "I'm not sure what's that floating down there, but it's big". The flooding was caused by overflow from the Pungo River, she wrote.
Stay with News 6 and ClickOrlando, com for the latest on the storm.
The Wilmington airport had a wind gust clocked at 105 miles per hour (169 kph), the highest since Hurricane Helene in 1958. The system is likely to weaken and strike as a Category 1 Hurricane as the winds have also weakened in strength a little as has been reported by the National Hurricane Center.
"Hurricane Florence is powerful, slow and relentless", North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper said Friday. "You're going to have flooding miles and miles inland", the center's director, Ken Graham, said Friday morning.
News 6's Erik Sandoval was live in Wilmington shortly before the storm made landfall.
WIND: Tropical storm conditions will continue through Saturday morning in portions of the warning area along the coast and also over large portions of eastern North Carolina and extreme eastern SC, with tropical storm force wind gusts spreading well inland. Forecasters said the onslaught could last for days, leaving a wide area under water from both heavy downpours and rising seas. Significant weakening was expected over the weekend. But he expected to be able to ride the storm out.
According to reports the cyclone has finally arrived on Wrightsville Beach in North Carolina. Thousands of soldiers from their National Guard forces have been mobilized.
SURF: Swells generated by Florence are affecting Bermuda, portions of the U.S. East Coast, and the northwestern and central Bahamas.
The threat comes as a video has been released from The Weather Channel in the USA of the potential for the potentially destructive storm surge to soar about 2.7m tall. Its designation then was "potential tropical cyclone six".
Storm Helene to bring wet and windy weather to Ireland
With Florence expected to be farther north at landfall, we will have no impacts from this storm locally other than large waves. Many areas in the low-lying city flood with routine rain storms, causing street closures and detours.