Science

Florence: Wilmington resurfaces after landfall, now bracing for flooding and no power

Florence: Wilmington resurfaces after landfall, now bracing for flooding and no power”

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.

The storm's intensity diminished as it neared land, with winds dropping to about 90 miles per hour by nightfall.

The hurricane's sheer size means it could batter the US East Coast with hurricane-force winds for almost a full day, according to weather forecasters.

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.

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper warned people not to take the storm's earlier downgrade as a sign the situation is no longer as risky.

Hurricane Florence is fast approaching the border of North and SC.

At 7 a.m., Florence was centered just 5 miles east of Wilmington, North Carolina.

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Cooper said there will be more shelters opening as needed and "as we speak". "We've prepared all our supplies at home and frankly, we were bored". This means that the water level will be higher than the number of feet predicted in the storm surge.

"The water kept rising and kept rising", he said.

Wind gusts paired with historic rainfall totals brought down trees in almost every area of the Cape Fear region.

Duke Energy and the N.C. Electric Cooperatives said at least 20,000 residences and businesses in the state's eastern counties were without power Thursday afternoon, a day before the storm was set to make landfall, the Charlotte Observer reported. "I am frightened about what's coming. We just want prayers from everyone".

Hurricane Florence churned through North Carolina on Friday, knocking out electricity for more than 900,000 customers throughout eastern North Carolina and in the state's midsection. "With the storm expected to linger, power restoration work could take weeks instead of days". Some roads were already impassable in the Outer Banks of North Carolina.

Blowing ashore with howling 90 miles per hour (155 kph) winds, Florence splintered buildings, trapped hundreds of people and swamped entire communities along the Carolina coast Friday in what could be just the opening act in a watery, two-part, slow-motion disaster.

More than 1 million people will likely evacuate from the storm's path in the Carolinas and Virginia, according to the New York Times.

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Airlines have cancelled more than 1,500 flights, and coastal towns across the Carolinas are largely empty after 1.7 million people in three states were told to clear out.

The NHC said in its 2 p.m. ET update that Florence is now a Category 2 storm, but it noted that the storm is quite large in diameter. Heavy rains were forecast to extend into the Appalachian Mountains, affecting parts of Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky and West Virginia.

Virginia and Georgia are also under states of emergency, but it's North and SC that are positioned to suffer the worst of the storm's wrath.

Despite pleas from officials, some residents ignored calls to evacuate.

Will Epperson, a 36-year-old golf course assistant superintendent, said he and his wife had planned to ride out the storm at their home in Hampstead, North Carolina, but reconsidered due to its ferocity.

Instead they drove 150 miles inland to his mum's house in Durham.

"It was pitch black and I was just scared out of my mind", said Tracy Singleton, who with her family later drove through torrential rain and high winds from her home near New Bern to a hotel some almost 80 miles (130 km) away.

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