Hurricane Florence Starts to Lash U.S. East CoastTop Stories

September 14, 2018 11:17
Hurricane Florence Starts to Lash U.S. East Coast

(Image source from: ABC News)

The outer bands of Hurricane Florence are lashing parts of the United States East Coast.

Officials warn of dangerous storm surges in both South and North Carolina as the hurricane moves towards land with maximum sustained wind speeds of 90mph (150 km/h).

Over 100,000 homes are already without power as weather conditions begin to worsen.

Officials have warned the storm has the potential to kill "a lot of people" amid risks of "catastrophic" flooding.

Over a million people along the coastlines of South Carolina, North Carolina, and Virginia have been ordered to evacuate.

By Thursday night, thousands had taken shelter in emergency facilities.

Photographs showed residents crowded into corridors with blankets on inflatable mattresses and mats.

Conditions deteriorated throughout Thursday as wind speeds bit by bit strengthened in coastal areas.

Few areas of North Carolina saw almost a foot of rain just a few hours, and footage showed sea levels begin to rush in the land.

Related content: Hurricane Florence: Virginia, Carolinas Ordered to Evacuate

At 23:00 local time (03:00 GMT) the National Hurricane Centre said wind speeds had slightly lowered, making it a category one hurricane.

The National Hurricane Centre (NHC) says that despite the gradual lowering in wind strength, the storm remains extremely dangerous because of the high volume of rainfall and storm surges predicted.

"Inland flooding kills a lot of people unfortunately and that's what we're about to see," Fema administrator Brock Long told a news conference on Thursday morning.

He said that people living near rivers, streams and lowland areas in the region were most at risk.

The up-to-the-minute weather predictions show the storm slowing to a near standstill as it pummels the coast with "copious amounts of rain" from Thursday night to Saturday.

Wind speeds are only anticipated to weaken on Saturday as the storm moves slowly across the land.

Meteorologists have warned floodwaters may rise up to 13ft (4m) in areas as some rivers see their flows "reversed".

Surroundings of the Carolina coast are expecting 20-30 (50-75cm) inches of rain, with isolated regions seeing up to 40in of a cloudburst.

Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, is imposing a 12-hour curfew from 19:00 local time on Thursday.

Petrol stations in the area are reporting deficits and energy companies to foretell that one to three million homes and businesses may lose power.

Officials have warned restorations to electricity could take days or as well weeks.

Over 1,400 flights have been canceled, according to, as most of the coastal region's airports are closed to ride out the storm.

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper warned people: "Today the threat becomes a reality."

Emergency workers are arriving from other parts of the U.S. to aid in rescues.

By Sowmya Sangam

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