This satellite image provided by NOAA shows Hurricane Florence on the eastern coast of the United States on Friday, Sept. 14, 2018. (NOAA via AP)
MIAMI – It is about the water, not the wind, with Hurricane Florence in the making of an extended stay on the coast of North Carolina. Forecasters say “it can’t be emphasized enough that the most serious hazard associated with slow Florence is an extremely heavy rainfall, which will lead to disastrous floods that will spread in the interior.” Top sustained winds made it a Category 1 hurricane, but some municipalities have already sunk into more than 6 feet (2 meters) of the water as the storm drenched the coast.
BY THE NUMBERS
—Big storm: about 400 miles (645 km) wide, with hurricane-force winds extending over a 140-metre (255-km) span
—Heavy rain: parts of the Carolina’s could see 20 inches to 30 inches (50 to 76 centimeters), with isolated areas getting 40 cm (100 cm), over a period of seven days along the coast
—Storm surge: up to 13 feet (almost 4 meters), and seawaters could push inland 2 miles (over 3 kilometers), depending on how long Florence continues to hang
—Deadly hazards: historical, 49 percent of U.S. hurricane deaths come from storm surge of 27 percent of rain, 8 percent from wind, 6 percent of surf, 6% offshore and 3% of tornadoes
—Intensity: Florence came ashore with top winds of 90 mph (145 km / h), under the 111 km / h (178 km / h) threshold for a “major” hurricane, but still very dangerous
—In the dark: more than 510,000 failure, especially in North Carolina, Friday morning, Duke Energy anticipating 1 million to 3 million homes and businesses losing power
Protected: 12,000 people in shelters in North Carolina, 4,000 in South Carolina, and 400 in Virginia
—Populated coast: 11 million Americans live in areas under storm watches and warnings
—Grounded: nearly 1,200 flights cancelled
—Potential losses: an estimated $10 billion to $60 billion in economic damage
FACES OF FLORENCE
Images captured by Associated Press journalists show last-minute preparations to protect homes and businesses and families settling in storm shelters in the form of rain and storm surge began to enjoy the Carolinas.
A massive evacuation is underway in the Philippines, which is being threatened by the Typhoon Mangkhut ; the super typhoon, the wind corresponds to a Category 5 Atlantic hurricane. Elsewhere in the Atlantic Ocean, the Azores could get stormy winds and heavy rainfall of Tropical Storm Helene this weekend, while Isaac was a tropical depression and weakening in the Caribbean Sea.
If Florence does not wipe out the ocean houses perched on stilts along the Carolinas coast, the rising of the sea level . Florence is hitting low-lying barrier islands that experience a number of the fastest rates of sea-level rise observed anywhere in the world, almost one inch (2.5 cm) per year.
WHAT TRUMP SAID:
George Washington University researchers alongside their studies that the death toll of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, was 2,975, significantly higher than expected. President Donald Trump rejected that conclusion Thursday, arguing without evidence that the number was wrong and mistakenly called it a plot by the Democrats to make him “look as bad as possible.” Top Republicans in Florida, where thousands of Puerto Ricans moved in after Maria, quickly said Trump was wrong about the death toll.
TO THE RESCUE
Rapid response crews of California, Florida, Oregon, Virginia and New England came to the Carolinas with inflatable Zodiac boats, all-terrain vehicles and mini-bikes to help with rescues and debris jams in Florence woke up. It’s a good thing they were available: about 350 people in New Bern, North Carolina, where necessary, to save it from flooding on the Neuse River, and about 70 people in Jacksonville, North Carolina, had to be moved to the safety of a hotel whose structural integrity was threatened by the hurricane.
CLOSE AND PERSONAL
A North Carolina TV station had to evacuate its newsroom in the middle of the hurricane coverage. Hours before Florence made landfall, the employees on WCTI-TV NewsChannel 12 leave their studio in New Bern, North Carolina, where the National Weather Service measured a storm surge of 10 feet (3 meters) deep.
The mayor of Hurricane, West Virginia, stepped in to rescue a marriage on North Carolina’s Outer Banks from an uninvited guest: Florence. As the storm threatened to wash away months of planning , Mayor Scott Edwards offered a unique opportunity to bring the town hall for the ceremony. Marsha Bradbury and Jon Gillenwater plan to marry “in the Hurricane during the hurricane” on Sunday.
Mercedes O’neill was concerned about the drive of the hurricane in her North Myrtle Beach home. But she is also more worried about what would happen if they could not quickly back to work at a Family Dollar store after the storm passes. O’neill’s family lives paycheck to paycheck, and evacuation is not cheap .
IN THE ZOO
Approximately 1,600 animals at the North Carolina Zoo are hunkered down. Zoo workers moved elephants, giraffes, chimpanzees and hundreds of other types of inside for safety. Some animals, such as bison and elk, kept in the fenced-in yards instead of sanding because they don’t like in a fully-closed spaces.
THE POWER OF WATER
Scientists can’t say — yet — that the climate change has helped to make Florence even worse. But earlier research has shown that the strongest hurricanes are becoming wetter, more intense and intensifying more rapidly by human-caused warming of the earth. Sea level rise also contributes to storm surge damage : Hurricane Sandy hit in 2012, a study found an increase of the sea level over the 20th century, to more than $2 billion in additional damages in New York City by the “additional” storm surge it generated.
FLIGHTS TO FLORIDA
Hurricanes usually drive people away from Florida, but Florence is making the Sunshine State a haven for the people of the Carolinas. Cruise ships have diverted to Florida away from the storm path, and some hotels offer special discounts for evacuees. What could be better than the drive of a hurricane at Walt Disney World ?
For the latest news on Hurricane Florence, visit https://www.apnews.com/tag/Hurricanes