Published: Sat, September 15, 2018
Science | By Cecil Little

Hurricane Florence from space

Hurricane Florence from space

The National Hurricane Center downgraded it to a tropical storm but said life-threatening storm surges and catastrophic freshwater flooding were expected over portions of North and SC.

As of 11pm local time (4am BST), Florence was centred about 85 miles east-southeast of Wilmington, its forward movement slowed to 5mph.

Florence's top sustained wind speeds dropped from a high of 140mph to 110mph which reduced the hurricane's power from Category 4 to Category 2.

Expected to make landfall by Friday, the impact of the storm will be widespread, with destructive winds, life-threatening storm surge, risky surf, torrential rainfall, flooding and the potential for tornadoes.

State and federal officials have frequently urged residents in the target zone to evacuate but there was resistance along the coast.

"It's chilling, even from space", said Alexander Gerst, an astronaut with the European Space Agency who now lives on ISS, on Twitter.

A mother and baby were killed when a tree fell on their home in Wilmington, North Carolina.

'Threat becomes reality': Florence begins days of rain, wind
A buoy off the North Carolina coast recorded waves almost 30 feet (9 metres) high as Florence churned toward shore. Click on the videos below for a live look at the storm's impact in North and SC .


The storm looked likely to make landfall on the coast of North and SC but heavy rain was also expected in Virginia to the north and Georgia to the south.

Officials said some 1.7 million people in the Carolinas and Virginia were warned to evacuate, but it is unclear how many did.

A police vehicle patrols the beach ahead of the arrival of Hurricane Florence in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, U.S. September 11, 2018.

"Hurricane Florence is looking even bigger than anticipated", Trump said.

States up and down the East Coast have a great potential for severe weather.

President Donald Trump has declared states of emergency for North and SC and Virginia, which frees up the way for federal aid.

Axios: "The ties between Hurricane Florence and climate change" - "Hurricane Florence is a unique Atlantic hurricane, projected to stall out after hitting land and forecast to dump upwards of 2 feet of rain on several states, much like Hurricane Harvey did in Texas past year".

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With South Carolina's beach towns more in the bull's-eye because of the shifting forecast, OH vacationers Chris and Nicole Roland put off their departure from North Myrtle Beach to get the maximum amount of time on the sand.

Amanda Kinseth, reporter for WPDE ABC 15 News in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

"Rather than a very narrow and intense band of winds, the winds are slightly weaker - but [they] cover a much larger area", NHC senior hurricane specialist Stacy Stewart said on Wednesday.

Atlantic Beach on North Carolina's Outer Banks islands had already received 30 inches of rain, the U.S. Geological Survey said, while more than 25 inches have fallen in the Newport, Morehead City area since Thursday. Hurricane-force winds extended 80 miles from its centre, and tropical storm force winds up to 195 miles.

"It brings multiple threats, including a massive storm surge at the coast, as well as a potentially catastrophic inland flood situation". She said it will become a "major flooding event". The storm's forecast has shifted southward in the last 24 hours.

President Trump chimed in Wednesday, warning residents of afflicted areas to "be ready, be prepared!"

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