WASHINGTON, Sept 14, 2018 (MENA) - More than 280,000 people were without power in North Carolina as of early Friday morning, as Hurricane Florence pounded the region with strong winds and heavy rains, Fox News reported.
As of 5:15 a.m. local time, 288,978 residents were experiencing power outages, according to the North Carolina Department of Safety.
The storm was downgraded late Thursday to Category 1, as the North Carolina coast was battered by hurricane-force winds and a life-threatening storm surge.
In addition to the power outages, authorities were working with federal responders to rescue at least 150 residents who reported themselves stranded in Florence's storm surge.
The National Hurricane Center said around 4 a.m. that the eyewall of the storm is beginning to reach the North Carolina coast.
WASHINGTON, September 12, 2018 (News Wires) -- More than 1.5 million people have been asked to evacuate their homes along the Virginia, North and South Carolina coasts as Category 5 storm Hurricane Florence approaches, an official said.
It is expected to make landfall in the area later this week, Efe news reported.
Hurricane Florence is packing sustained winds of 140 miles (220 km) per hour and remains an "extremely dangerous" Category 4 storm as it approaches the US eastern coastline, specifically the Carolinas.
In its 5 p.m. advisory on Tuesday, the Miami-based National Hurricane Center said that the eye of Florence was located 580 km south-southwest of Bermuda and 1,260 km east-southeast of Cape Fear, North Carolina. It is likely to become a Category 5 before landfall.
The NHC experts warned that "life-threatening storm surge (is) possible along the coasts of North and South Carolina".
"Further strengthening is forecast tonight and Wednesday. While some weakening is expected on Thursday, Florence is forecast to be an extremely dangerous major hurricane through landfall," the NHC said.
The first waves directly kicked up by the huge storm system should begin coming ashore late Wednesday. Florence was expected to bring very heavy storm surge, rain and flooding to the entire region on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
Beyond the Carolinas and Virginia, which were expected to bear the brunt of the storm, rain and flooding were expected through next week in certain parts of Tennessee, Georgia, West Virginia, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Maryland and the District of Columbia.
Maryland and the District of Columbia have declared states of emergency.
President Donald Trump declared a state of emergency in North and South Carolina, thus facilitating federal aid to those states. He also cancelled several campaign events he had scheduled for Thursday and Friday.
"The safety of the American people is my absolute highest priority. We are sparing no expense," Trump told reporters in the Oval Office after meeting with Department of Homeland Security and Federal Emergency Management Administration officials.
Trump said that his administration is "ready. We are as ready as anyone has ever been", adding: "This is going to be a very large one ... It's tremendously big and tremendously wet. Tremendous amounts of water."
Hurricane and storm surge warnings have been declared from South Santee River, South Carolina, to Duck, North Carolina.
A hurricane watch has been placed in effect for Edisto Beach South Carolina to the North Carolina-Virginia border, and a storm surge watch is in place for the same zone.
The storm surge will bring significant flooding of between 9-13 feet from Cape Fear to Cape Lookout, including the Neuse and Pamlico Rivers, 6-9 feet between North Myrtle Beach and Cape Fear, and 2-4 feet to the area between Edisto Beach and Murrells Inlet.
A total of 15-20 inches of rain is expected, with isolated areas of up to 30 inches in parts of North Carolina, Virginia and the northern part of South Carolina through Saturday.
So far during in 2018 Atlantic hurricane season there have been nine tropical storms, of which five -- Beryl, Chris, Helen, Isaac and Florence -- have become hurricanes.
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo., Sept 11, 2018 (News Wires) - President Donald Trump is canceling a campaign rally in Missouri as a potentially catastrophic hurricane nears the East Coast.
Trump on Tuesday announced he's axing his planned visit to Cape Girardeau on Thursday. His campaign says that's the safest decision in light of the approaching hurricane.
Hurricane Florence is expected to be an extremely dangerous major hurricane through Thursday night.
Trump had planned to urge the defeat of Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill at the rally. He's backing her Republican challenger, Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley.
Trump won Missouri by 18 percentage points in 2016. McCaskill is a top target for Republicans seeking to expand the party's slim 51-49 edge in the U.S. Senate.
She is among 10 Senate Democrats up for re-election this year in states that Trump won.
HOLDEN BEACH, Sept 11, 2018 (News Wires) - More than 1.5 million people were ordered to evacuate their homes along the US Atlantic coast as Hurricane Florence, a Category 4 storm and the most powerful to menace the Carolinas in nearly three decades, barrelled in on Tuesday.
Florence, packing winds of 220 kph, was expected to grow even stronger before making landfall on Thursday, mostly likely in southeastern North Carolina near the South Carolina border, the National Hurricane Center in Miami said.
“We are in the bull’s eye,” North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper told reporters Monday.
Florence was expected to turn into “an extremely dangerous major hurricane” during Thursday night, the hurricane center said in a bulletin.
Virginia Governor Ralph Northam issued an evacuation order for about 245,000 residents in flood-prone coastal areas beginning at 8am local time and South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster ordered more than one million residents along his state’s coastline to leave starting at noon on Tuesday.
At least 250,000 more people were due to be evacuated from the northern Outer Banks in North Carolina today after more than 50,000 people were ordered yesterday to leave Hatteras and Ocracoke, the southernmost of the state’s barrier islands.
North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and Maryland governors have declared states of emergency.
Authorities warned of life-threatening coastal storm surges and the potential for Florence to unleash prolonged torrential rains and widespread flooding, especially if it lingers inland for several days.
NHC Director Ken Graham warned of “staggering” amounts of rainfall that may extend hundreds of miles inland and cause flash flooding across the mid-Atlantic region.
Forecasts expect 25-38 cm of rain in the hardest-hit areas, possibly more if the storm stalls over land, as expected, Graham said.
Mindful of devastation wrought by a string of deadly US hurricanes last year, residents in the Carolinas began the rituals of disaster preparation - boarding up windows and stocking up on groceries, water and gasoline.
Classified as a Category 4 on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale of hurricane strength, Florence was the most severe storm to threaten the U.S. mainland this year and the first of its magnitude to target the Carolinas since 1989, when Hurricane Hugo barreled over Charleston, South Carolina.
In Holden Beach, North Carolina, in the storm’s path, longtime residents were busy securing their homes and possessions.