‘Catastrophic’ Florence batters Carolinas | Daily News

‘Catastrophic’ Florence batters Carolinas

Waves slam the Oceana Pier and Pier House Restaurant in Atlantic Beach, North Carolina as Hurricane Florence approached the area.
Waves slam the Oceana Pier and Pier House Restaurant in Atlantic Beach, North Carolina as Hurricane Florence approached the area.

US: Hurricane Florence battered the Carolinas early yesterday with howling winds, life-threatening storm surges and torrential rains as it edged closer to the coast in what officials warned is a “once in a lifetime” event.

Reports said coastal streets in North Carolina were flooded and winds bent trees to the ground as the storm, which has been downgraded to Category 1 and is weakened and slower moving than in recent days, prepared to make landfall at some point on Friday.

More than 150,000 customers in North Carolina were reported to be without power as the outer band of the storm approached.

Footage from US TV outlets showed raging waters hitting piers and jettys and rushing across coastal roads in seaside communities.

The National Hurricane Center in Miami reported “life-threatening storm surge and hurricane-force winds” along the North Carolina coast.

“This storm will bring destruction,” North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper said. “Catastrophic effects will be felt.” Federal emergency management officials warned that Florence -- while weakening slightly -- remains a “very dangerous storm” capable of wreaking havoc along a wide swathe of the coast.

Warning of looming storm surges of nine to 12 feet (2.7-3.6 meters), he urged residents to take the storm seriously no matter the category, saying “this is all about the water anyway.” 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.

Winds were already picking up along the coastline early Thursday and some minor flooding was reported on the Outer Banks, barrier islands off the coast of North Carolina, and in some seaside coastal towns.

Myrtle Beach, a South Carolina beach resort, was virtually deserted with empty streets, boarded up storefronts and very little traffic.

And in Wilmington, North Carolina, a steady rain began to fall as gusts of winds intensified, causing trees to sway and stoplights to flicker. “This rainfall will produce catastrophic flash flooding and prolonged significant river flooding,” the NHC said. A tornado watch was also in effect for parts of North Carolina. About 1.7 million people in North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia are under voluntary or mandatory evacuation orders and millions of others live in areas likely to be affected by what officials called a “once in a lifetime” storm.

South Carolina ordered the mandatory evacuation of one million coastal residents while North Carolina announced an evacuation of the Outer Banks, a popular tourist destination.

In Virginia, 245,000 coastal residents were told to flee.

A state of emergency has been declared in five coastal states -- North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Maryland and Virginia -- as well as the US capital Washington.

Duke Energy, a power company in the Carolinas, estimated that one million to three million customers could lose electricity because of the storm and that it could take weeks to restore. - AFP


 

Add new comment