Wednesday, 26 September, 2018

Florence weakens to tropical storm, leaves at least five dead

Alexander Gerst  European Space Agency Alexander Gerst European Space Agency
Guillermo Lane | 15 September, 2018, 07:15

Hurricane Florence, the vast storm meteorologists and astronauts alike have been tracking, made landfall this morning (Sept. 14) near Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina.

Authorities warned, too, of the threat of mudslides and the risk of an environmental disaster from floodwaters washing over industrial waste sites and hog farms.

While Florence's winds won't be as intense as first feared, the storm could dump as much as 3 feet of rain and generate storm surges as high as 13 feet in coastal areas, the weather service said.

Hurricane Florence slowed dramatically as it approached shallower waters along the coast, dropping from a Category 4 hurricane with 130 miles per hour (209 km/h) winds on Wednesday (Sept. 12) to a Category 2 Thursday.

Astronauts aboard the International Space Station say Hurricane Florence is so massive, they had to use a super wide-angle lens to capture photographs of the storm from space.

Donald Trump was to visit hurricane-hit zones "early to the middle of next week", the White House said, "once it is determined his travel will not disrupt any rescue or recovery efforts". The few cars out on a main street in Wilmington had to swerve to avoid fallen trees, metal debris and power lines.

"You need to be prepared to be without power for weeks", Holding said, pointing out that Hurricane Fran knocked out power for two weeks and Hurricane Matthew left him without power for five days.

Hurricane Florence: Giant, slow-moving storm causes deluge as it makes landfall
More than 80,000 people were already without power as the storm began buffeting the coast, and more than 12,000 were in shelters. Hurricane Florence made landfall on Friday morning near Wrightsville Beach, N.C., according to the National Hurricane Center .


North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper said Florence was set to cover nearly all of the state in several feet of water.

Richmond, Va. -based Dominion Energy, which provides power in the northeastern corner of North Carolina, was reporting over 1,900 scattered outages.

Another moving photograph captured a K-9 handler giving his dog, Tag, fluids through an IV bag to keep him healthy while conducting important search and rescue work in Pembroke, North Carolina.

North Carolina alone is forecast to get 36 trillion litres, enough to cover the Tar Heel state to a depth of about 25 centimetres.

Some of the worst flooding was in New Bern, where authorities were enforcing a curfew. More than 1.7 million were ordered to evacuate in advance of the storm. Almost 2,100 flights have been canceled through Saturday.

More than 60 people, including many children, were evacuated from a hotel in Jacksonville, North Carolina, after strong winds collapsed part of the roof. "We got thrown into mailboxes, houses, trees", said Holt, who had stayed at home because of a doctor's appointment that was later cancelled.

"Honestly, I grew up in Wilmington".

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