Sci-tech

Hurricane Florence's onslaught threatens disaster in North Carolina

Hurricane Florence's onslaught threatens disaster in North Carolina

Florence was 155 miles (250km) east of Myrtle Beach in SC at 17:00 EDT (21:00 GMT), and is projected to make landfall on Friday at 08:00 local time. "It can also send salt water into the fresh drinking supply and drives potentially risky creatures inland to higher ground".

Ten miles (16 km) away in Wilmington, wind gusts were stirring up frothy white caps into the Cape Fear River.

"Afterwards, I'm going to drink a bottle of whiskey and take a two-day nap, but right now I'm walking the neighbourhood making sure my neighbours are fine because nobody can get in here".

As Florence itself slowly moves west, near the North and SC border, high pressure will guide it north along the spine of the Appalachian Mountains.

The storm's center was about 110 miles (180 km) east of Wilmington, North Carolina, at 2 p.m. EDT (1800 GMT) but tropical storm-strength winds and heavy rains already were hitting North Carolina's Outer Banks barrier islands.

It's unclear exactly how many people fled ahead of the storm, but more than 1.7 million people in the Carolinas and Virginia were warned to clear out.

Mr Cooper's office said the current emergency declaration was helping state officials prepare for the storm.

When a college football game was canceled due to Hurricane Florence, one of the team's decided to make the best out of the situation. Hurricane force winds extended 80 miles from the centre of the storm, while tropical storm force winds extended up to 195 miles.

SC officials say more than 400,000 people have evacuated the state's coast and more than 4,000 people have taken refuge in shelters as Hurricane Florence approaches.

"This is a powerful storm that can kill", said North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper in a Thursday press briefing.

We got the chance to launch a balloon ourselves, which could reach 120,000 feet.

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The National Weather Service is forecasting "significant" river flooding, especially in the northeastern portion of the state. The company said as many as three-fourths of its 4 million customers in North Carolina and SC could lose power.

On top of the potentially destructive hurricane, forecasters also put parts of North Carolina on tornado watch.

More than 1 million people had been ordered to evacuate before the streets became inundated.

SC ordered the mandatory evacuation of one million coastal residents while North Carolina ordered an evacuation of the Outer Banks, barrier islands that are a popular tourist destination.

So far, a state of emergency has been declared in South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, Georgia and Maryland and Washington DC.

Authorities typically say those who ignore evacuation orders are "on their own" should an emergency occur before first responders can be deployed.

Near the beach in Wilmington, a Waffle House restaurant, part of a chain with a reputation for staying open during disasters, had no plans to close, even if power is lost.

Officials urged residents there to take shelter at the highest points of their homes, including rooftops.

In Wilmington, residents who had decided not to evacuate were lining up to get ice from a vending machine - $2 for a 16-pound (7.2-kilo) bag.

"But I'm not afraid", he said. "I learned from the past to keep the ice in the washing machine".

"Since my husband retired and my health declined, we have his retirement as an income".


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