Published: Sat, September 15, 2018
Sci-tech | By Eric Barnett

In the United States raging hurricane "Florence"

In the United States raging hurricane

By Friday evening, the centre of the storm had moved to eastern SC, about 15 miles northeast of Myrtle Beach, with maximum sustained winds of 70 mph. It was crawling west-southwest at 3 miles per hour, lifting huge amounts of ocean moisture and dumping it far from the coast.

Storm surge has accounted for about half of the deaths in hurricanes since 1970, according to the National Hurricane Center.

The giant, 400-mile-wide hurricane unloaded heavy rain, flattened trees, chewed up roads and knocked out power to more than 600,000 homes and businesses.

Duke Energy, which provides electricity to customers in eastern North Carolina, has roughly 380,000 customers without power. The trend is "exceptionally bad news", said University of Miami hurricane researcher Brian McNoldy, since it "smears a landfall out over hundreds of miles of coastline, most notably the storm surge".

A satellite altimeter under the northeast quadrant, the strongest area of the storm, recorded the wave. North Myrtle Beach was almost empty Thursday as the first bands of heavy rain from Hurricane Florence approached.

Video posted on Twitter showed a meteorologist telling viewers they'd be taken to coverage from sister station WPDE in Myrtle Beach.

Gov. Rick Scott said Wednesday that Florida state agencies and electric utilities are taking steps to provide help after Hurricane Florence hits land later this week.

They don't retire the name of every hurricane - and there's already a buzz that Florence will join the likes of Hazel (1954), Hugo (1989), Fran (1996) and Isabel (2003), the four most destructive hurricanes to strike the southeastern United States. The two-lane highway is the only route to the mainland other than ferries.

The hurricane center said the large amount of rainfall "will produce catastrophic flash flooding and prolonged significant river flooding".

Downtown New Bern, on the Neuse River also is flooded.

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Federal officials are urging anyone who ignored orders to evacuate from Hurricane Florence to hunker down and stay put until the storm passes.

"We hope to have something left when we get home", she said. A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect from north of Duck, North Carolina to Cape Charles Light, Virginia for the Chesapeake Bay south of New Point Comfort, and from Edisto Beach South Carolina to South Santee River, South Carolina.

Preparing for the worst, about 9,700 National Guard troops and civilians were deployed with high-water vehicles, helicopters and boats that could be used to pluck people from the floodwaters.

The hurricane center is forecasting the storm to hover near the coast Saturday with winds of around 80 miles per hour (130 kph) before landfall, but with rainfall in the 20 to 30 inches (50 to 75 centimeter) range and up to 13 feet (nearly 4 meters) of storm surge.

About 10 million people could be affected by the storm and more than 1 million were ordered to evacuate the coasts of the Carolinas and Virginia.

Energy Secretary Rick Perry says the USA electricity sector has been well prepared for Hurricane Florence even as hundreds of thousands of homes lose power in the storm. REUTERS/Chris KeanePeople walk past a boarded up building before Hurricane Florence comes ashore in Carolina Beach, North Carolina, U.S., September 12, 2018. "(It's) called Mother Nature; you never know - but we know".

Trump says his administration has been in "close contact" with the state and local governments soon to be impacted by the massive storm.

Authorities in the North Carolina city of New Bern said there were around 150 people waiting to be rescued from rising flood waters.

More than 634,000 homes and businesses were without power in North and SC early on Friday, utility officials said.

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