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Watch live streaming video of Hurricane Florence rolling into North Carolina
13 September 2018, 11:59 | Ross Houston
The simplest, most common metric for the measurement of a storm's intensity is maximum wind speed, and certainly this matters in terms of pure destructive potential when it comes to, say, losing a roof or propelling debris through the air. His remarks fell flat in Puerto Rico where islanders are continuing to struggle to recover a year after the Category 4 storm. Closer to central North Carolina, Fayetteville could see winds of 27 miles per hour. "It's just not anywhere near a level of Maria", forecaster Eric Blake said.
Mayor Joe Benson said the storm will batter the oceanside town through two high tide periods.
"Even the rescuers can not stay there", he said. Forecasters are predicting as much as 40in of rain in some localized areas.
Masters said there's a tug-of-war between two clear-skies high-pressure systems - one off the coast and one over MI. "It's a nasty interplay that makes it very hard".
Florence's top sustained wind speeds dropped from a high of 140 miles per hour (225 kph) to 110 miles per hour (175 kph) as its outer rain bands approached the North Carolina coast early Thursday, reducing the storm from Category 4 to Category 2, but forecasters warned that the enormous wind field has been growing larger, raising the risk of the ocean surging on to land. The surge won't be as bad as it potentially could have been, however, and the winds won't be as strong. Surges as high as 9-to-13 feet are now forecast from Cape Fear to Cape Lookout.
It's now expected to continue weakening and dissipate in five days. Some of the storm's wind and rain could even creep into eastern Georgia. Sustained winds slowed slightly to 125 miles per hour Tuesday afternoon, making it a Cat 3 storm. Model data shows Florence being a very patient storm. The ground is saturated with water and unlikely able to withstand the heavy, persistent rains that are expected.
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"Just because we have a landfall to the south doesn't mean your out of the woods because the wind around this storm is huge", National Hurricane Center Director Ken Graham said Wednesday morning. NASA/Handout via REUTERS " Pray for Wilmington" is seen on boarded up windows ahead of the arrival of Hurricane Florence in Wilmington, North Carolina, U.S., September 12, 2018.
"This is going to be a Mike Tyson punch to the Carolina coast", said Jeff Byard, associate administrator for response and recovery at the Federal Emergency Management Agency. "Prepare for long power outages".
At this height of the Atlantic hurricane season, Florence was being trailed on east-to-west paths by two other storms, Hurricane Helene and Tropical Storm Isaac, but neither packs the deadly punch of Florence.
In addition to the life-threatening storm surge, Florence is also forecast to dump up to 40 inches of rain after it makes landfall in North and South Carolina Thursday night or Friday.
Sixteen kilometres away in Wilmington, wind gusts of 32 to 20 kph were stirring up frothy white caps into the Cape Fear River, although no rain had yet fallen. Most were scheduled for Thursday and Friday.
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