Wrightsville Beach 12 brace for Florence to fully make landfall
17 September, 2018, 03:18 | Author: Marie Harrington
On Wednesday, Florence was downgraded twice from its peak as a Category 4 storm which causes "catastrophic damage". It is now at Category 1.
Waves from Hurricane Florence pound the Bogue Inlet Pier in Emerald Isle, N.C., September 13, 2018.
A surge is also likely along portions of the SC coast.
With a storm surge warning in effect, the authorities urged people to prepare themselves for the disaster.
Despite pleas from officials, some residents rejected calls to evacuate.
Thousands of people were without power in North Carolina on Thursday as the outer bands of Hurricane Florence fell on the area, utilities in the state said.
The catastrophe modeling firm said 250,000 homes in North Carolina alone are projected to be affected by the storm. Municipal power agencies, including New Bern and Southport, have not reported any outages yet.
Winds and rain were arriving later in SC, and a few people were still walking on the sand at Myrtle Beach while North Carolina was getting pounded.
North Carolina alone is forecast to get 9.6 trillion gallons, enough to cover the Tar Heel state to a depth of about 10 inches (25 centimeters).
"The only reason we're still here is because we have a 7-month-old baby with us", she said. "But we can't replace us so we made a decision to come here".
The storm's center was about 108 miles (173 km) east of Wilmington, North Carolina, at 3 p.m. EDT (1900 GMT) but already some 19,000 homes and businesses were without power by mid-afternoon in the Carolinas and Virginia.
Forecasters said conditions would only get more lethal when the storm smashed ashore early on Friday near the North Carolina-South Carolina line and crawled slowly inland.
Florence has been bearing down on the Carolinas for days, and it has expanded in size, with tropical-storm-force winds extending almost 200 miles from the storm's eye. As of Friday morning, Atlantic Beach, a town on the state's Outer Banks barrier islands, already had received 30 inches (76 cm) of rain, the U.S. Geological Service said.
Forecasters are predicting the massive storm's relentless rains have the potential to produce catastrophic flash flooding and significant river flooding while also contributing to the potential for landslides across the mountains.
With South Carolina's beach towns more in the bull's-eye because of the shifting forecast, OH vacationers Chris and Nicole Roland put off their departure from North Myrtle Beach to get the maximum amount of time on the sand.
"We have lots of water, we've got lots of food, lots of canned food, non-perishable food", she said.
Myrtle Beach, a SC beach resort, was virtually deserted with empty streets, boarded up storefronts and very little traffic.
So far, a state of emergency has been declared in South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, Georgia and Maryland and Washington DC.
Utility companies are predicting power outages that could reach between one-to-three million across both North and SC for days and possibly weeks.
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An executive order from the Myrtle Beach City Manager says no one can go into the ocean as Hurricane Florence approaches. However, it was projected Wednesday that Florence would shift slightly to the south and possibly hit Georgia as well.
Some 200,000 people are reported to be without power as winds down power lines and cause destruction across coastlines. It will likely weaken more on Friday, with "rapid weakening forecast over the weekend", the hurricane center said.
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Hurricane Florence prompts mandatory evacuations
One out of every five South Carolinians, about 1 million in all, are in the evacuation zones covering eight counties. The governors of Virginia, Maryland, and North and SC have declared states of emergency ahead of the storm.
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NASA images show how massive Florence is
The element will lead to a "life-threatening storm surges, exceptionally strong heavy rains and destructive winds", they say. NASA's Aqua satellite caught Hurricane Florence developing an eye Sunday as the storm ramped up its intensity.