Saturday, 17 November, 2018

Trinidadians in the Carolinas prepare for Hurricane Florence

This is Hurricane Florence's projected path Hurricane Florence from above: Startling images of the huge storm from the International Space Station
Guillermo Lane | 15 September, 2018, 03:27

While Florence was downgraded from a Category 4 to 2 on Wednesday due to its declining wind speed, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) emphasized on Twitter Thursday morning that "life-threatening storm surge flooding, catastrophic flash flooding, and prolonged significant river flooding are still expected".

In addition to the life-threatening storm surge, Florence is also forecast to dump up to 40 inches (1m) of rain after it makes landfall in North and South Carolina Thursday night or Friday. It is expected to hit the coast with winds of 100 miles per hour on Friday, according to the latest U.S. National Hurricane Center report.

Because most are managed as wild animals, numerous horses will be left to fend for themselves, said Paula Gillikin of the North Carolina Coastal Reserve. Emerald Isle is about 84 miles (135 kilometers) north of Wilmington. Municipal power agencies, including New Bern and Southport, have not reported any outages yet. The city said early Friday that two out-of-state FEMA teams were working on swift-water rescues and more teams were on the way.

The storm's intensity diminished as it neared land, with winds dropping to around 90 miles per hour (144 kph) by nightfall.

The governor said those were "early warnings of the days to come". "Surviving this storm will be a test of endurance, teamwork, common sense and patience".

The Governor has requested a presidential disaster declaration to expedite the process of receiving federal aid.

Tens of thousands of people are already without power.

Prisoners were affected, too. Millions of people were expected to lose power from the storm and restoration could take weeks.

Officials said some 1.7 million people in the Carolinas and Virginia were warned to evacuate, but it was unclear how many did. "A watch is typically issued 48 hours before the anticipated first occurrence of tropical-storm-force winds, conditions that make outside preparations hard or risky". Ocean water flowed between homes and on to streets on the Outer Banks; waves crashed against wooden fishing piers. South Carolina's state capital Columbia is at only 89m (292ft).

Hurricane Florence swamps Carolinas, threatening record rainfall, punishing winds
Five deaths in North Carolina have been linked to Hurricane Florence Friday, including a mother and baby who died in Wilmington . Officials said some 1.7 million people in the Carolinas and Virginia were warned to evacuate, but it's unclear how many did.


The storm's center was about 85 miles east-southeast of Wilmington at around 8 p.m. EST.

Heavy bands of rain and tropical storm force winds are sweeping across the barrier islands off North Carolina and along the southeastern coast of the state.

Hurricane Florence is at the doorstep of North and SC, and she's not going away anytime soon.

SC ordered the mandatory evacuation of one million coastal residents while North Carolina ordered an evacuation of the Outer Banks, barrier islands that are a popular tourist destination.

Florence, though downgraded to a Category 2 storm on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale, remained unsafe and unpredictable, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) said.

"We're a little anxious about the storm surge so we came down to see what the river is doing now", Smith said.

The hurricane was seen as a major test for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which was heavily criticized as sluggish and unprepared for Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico previous year.

Workers are being brought in from the Midwest and Florida to help in the storm's aftermath, it said. "You may need to move up to the second story, or to your attic, but WE ARE COMING TO GET YOU".

"This is our only home. We got thrown into mailboxes, houses, trees", said Holt, who had stayed at home because of a doctor's appointment that was later canceled. "We chose to hunker down".

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