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Time almost up: Fierce Hurricane Florence aims at Southeast - Story | WFLD
14 September 2018, 12:56 | Ross Houston
FEMA officials wrote on Twitter people should not focus on the category of the storm - as of Thursday morning, Hurricane Florence was a Category 2 storm, indicating slower wind speeds - but rather should pay attention to the fact there will be extreme flooding in the Carolinas as a result.
Florence was downgraded to a Category 2 storm overnight on the five-level Saffir-Simpson wind scale but it is still packing hurricane-force winds of 100 miles (155 kilometers) per hour, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) said. Waves off the shore of North Carolina have already gotten as high as 13 feet, he saYS.
Weather Underground meteorology director Jeff Masters said Florence eventually could strike as merely a Category 1 hurricane with winds less than 100 miles per hour (160 kph), but that's still enough to cause at least $1 billion in damage.
Her neighbors gave her the key to their house, which is two stories and might be safer from flooding, she said.
Roads and intersections on North Carolina's Outer Banks barrier islands were already inundated with water. Sand dunes gone storm surge 4' into house knocking down walls first floor.
As Florence churned slowly towards the coasts of North and SC as a Category 2 hurricane, federal and state officials issued final appeals to residents to get out of the path of the "once in a lifetime" weather system.
Its hurricane-force winds extend up to 130 kilometres (80 miles) from the centre, and its tropical storm-force winds extend up to 315 kilometres (195 miles).
North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper warned people: "Today the threat becomes a reality".
At the time of writing, over 116,000 people were watching the storm approach the tower, which "is a privately owned surplus Coast Guard Light Station", that also doubles as a "unique adventure bed & breakfast" when the weather is more appropriate.
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"Sometimes these systems, they expand", she said. "Well, we're about to get punched in the face".
North Carolina has had this problem before.
In Myrtle Beach, ABC correspondent Pete Combs painted a starker picture of those who chose to stay in place.
About 5.25 million people live in areas under hurricane warnings or watches, and 4.9 million live in places covered by tropical storm warnings or watches, the National Weather Service said.
After criticism for its response in Puerto Rico to last year's Hurricane Maria, which officials there said was responsible for 3,000 deaths, Trump has vowed a vigorous response to Florence and defended his handling of Maria.
At least 188,000 people were without power in North Carolina and SC.
More than 1 million people have been ordered to evacuate - but the window to do so in nearly over.
Despite pleas from officials, some residents ignored calls to evacuate.
It said the additional declaration would bring more federal help with debris removal, search and rescue teams, meals and generators, among other items.
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