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‘Threat becomes reality’: Florence begins days of rain, wind

14 September 2018

Hurricane Florence, from which tropical-storm-force winds are extending nearly 200 miles, has begun pounding the Carolina coastline as officials make last-minute pleas for residents to evacuate.

One climate model is predicting that as much as 11 trillion gallons of rain will fall on North Carolina in the coming week - an amount that's enough to fill the Empire State Building 40 times over. Emerald Isle is about 84 miles (135 kilometers) north of Wilmington.

On Thursday evening, the Neuse River burst its banks which caused rapid flooding in New Bern, North Carolina, forcing residents to flee as the entire city lost power.

Its surge could cover all but a sliver of the Carolina coast under as much as 3.4 metres of ocean water, and days of downpours could unload more than 900mm of rain, triggering severe flooding. For a Category 2 storm, that means sustained winds of 154-177 km/h (96-110 mph).

"This storm will bring destruction", said North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper.

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In a new demonstration of the network's CGI capabilities, hosts have presented from the centre of a digital storm surge to demonstrate the hurricane's damaging potential. "Surviving this storm will be a test of endurance, teamwork, common sense and patience".

Even if you didn't know that the powerful storm is forecast to gain strength as it hits the coast on Friday, or that it will dump several months of rain onto the region in a mere few days, or that the storm surge could reach as high as 9 to 13 ft.

Cooper requested additional federal disaster assistance in anticipation of what his office called "historic major damage" across the state.

Hurricane Florence already has inundated coastal streets with ocean water and left tens of thousands without power, and more is to come. Another 400 people were in shelters in Virginia, where forecasts were less dire.

Brock Long, the administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), warned the danger was not only along the coast: "Inland flooding kills a lot of people, unfortunately, and that's what we're about to see", he said.

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Over 1,400 flights have been cancelled, according to FlightAware.com, as most of the coastal region's airports are closed to ride out the storm. Its forward movement was 6 miles per hour (9 kph).

Florence had once been a Category 4 storm, but even as a Category 1, it could still packs winds of 90 miles per hour, the National Hurricane Center said.

A buoy off the North Carolina coast recorded waves almost 30 feet (9 meters) high as Florence churned toward shore.

Florence about to make landfall in N. Carolina causing life-threatening storm surge.

About 10 million people live in the path of the slow-moving storm and more than 1 million had been ordered to evacuate the coasts of the Carolinas and Virginia, jamming westbound roads and highways for miles. "Ever stared down the gaping eye of a category 4 hurricane?"

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‘Threat becomes reality’: Florence begins days of rain, wind