Hurricane Florence lashes USA east coast, triggers flood warnings

ESA  NASA

ESA NASA

"The deepest water will occur along the immediate coast in areas of onshore winds, where the surge will be accompanied by large and destructive waves, " it said.

Roy Cooper warned residents to not let their guard down ahead of Hurricane Florence's landfall later this week. Storm surge search and rescue operations have been underway across the county.

Amber Parker, spokesperson for Craven County, North Carolina, tells Here & Now's Jeremy Hobson that officials are happy to have daylight on their side Friday.

Schools and businesses closed as far south as Georgia, airlines canceled more than 1,500 flights, and coastal towns in the Carolinas were largely emptied out.

"It will be historic", Baker said of the rain from Florence. Hurricanes feed off the heat in the warm surface of the ocean and typically lose power when they hit land.

The fresh water flooding will also be a major issue as the storm moves inland. As Cooper said, "There's nowhere for the water to go".

"I'm not approaching Florence from fear or panic", said Brad Corpening, 35, who planned to ride out the storm in his boarded-up delicatessen in Wilmington.

"From Wilmington to Charlotte, we'll experience between a 500-year and 1,000-year flood event", Trogdon warned in a late-morning briefing.

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Early Thursday Florence was about 235 miles (378 kilometers) east southeast of Wilmington, North Carolina and about 280 miles (450 kilometers) east southeast of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. "I built this house myself, so I'm not anxious at all, I know it's solid", he said. The city said two Federal Emergency Management Agency teams were working on swift-water rescues, and more were on the way. We know it has forced the cancellation of almost 1,800 flights, with more to come, and that it has already caused serious flooding in coastal areas.

Florence's eyewall reached shore near Wilmington, N.C., just before 6 a.m. ET Friday; more than an hour later, the National Hurricane Center announced, it had "finally" made landfall near Wrightsville Beach.

New Bern, a city of about 30,000 residents, has been under a mandatory evacuation order since Tuesday. "Of course, I live in New Bern, I'm a property owner here, I have friends that live here and have property here, work here, and it's devastating to see our attractive community and parts of it underwater, and to even worry about my own home".

There's still a threat from rising tides, Risty-Davis says. "And you don't need power to sling booze", said owner Eli Ellsworth.

At the time, the storm carried winds of about 90 miles per hour (145 km/h), making it a Category 1 storm, but that ranking belies the hurricane's massive clouds and the downpour it is visiting on the coastline, with some areas already drenched in 30 inches (76 centimeters) of rain.

Heavy rain, wind gusts and rising floodwaters from Hurricane Florence swamped the Carolinas as the massive storm crawled toward the coast, threatening millions of people in its path with record rainfall and punishing surf. "Lots of water, lots of wind, lots of storm surge". Rainfall of up to 20 to 40 inches could fall over the next five days in some areas, forecasters say. She plans to continue to ride out the storm.

A hurricane watch is in effect for Edisto Beach, SC, to South Santee River, SC. "This large-scale feature is expected to keep the hurricane moving northwestward today, followed by a turn toward the west at a much slower speed on Friday as the ridge to the north of Florence weakens due to a weak shortwave trough dropping slowly southward from the Ohio Valley". A storm surge warning is in effect for South Santee River South Carolina to Duck North Carolina.

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