Hurricane Florence still poses grave threat despite weaker winds

Ismael LynchSep 14, 2018

The powerful hurricane bearing down on the east coast of the U.S. has led airlines to cancel more than 1,245 flights and waive change fees for travellers affected by the storm, USA Today reports. Wind gusts from Florence could reach tropical storm force (39+ mph), while sustained winds are expected to be in the 20-30 miles per hour range.

The Atlantic seaboard got some good news as Hurricane Florence slowed to a Category-1 hurricane as it finally made landfall this morning.

Forecasters said wind speeds have dropped from a high of 225 km/h to 175 km/h, reducing it from a Category 4 storm to a Category 2, and additional fluctuations and weakening were likely as it swirled toward land.

The downgraded status of the storm, which indicates that Hurricane Florence is moving at maximum sustained wind speeds of 110 miles per hour, means little in terms of its impact and deadly potential, according to Elliot Abrams, chief forecaster at Accuweather.

It's unclear exactly how many people evacuated, but more than 1.7 million people in the Carolinas and Virginia were warned to clear out.

So how are these people preparing? We will start to see Florence slow down a bit as the day progresses.

When the center of Florence gets near the coast or just across the North Carolina coastline, it will turn to the left and head toward SC.

Forecasters are anxious the storm's damage will be all the worse if it lingers on the coast.

"We can only hope it won't hit hard", White said.

Hurricane Florence has developed into a major storm over extremely warm water, Ginis said.

Some forecasters have predicted it could be the most powerful storm ever to hit the region.

Emergency management officials in both Marion and Alachua counties are still watching Florence, but are now they are more focused on what will happen with Tropical Storm Isaac, which is heading due west and expected to enter the Caribbean Sea on today.

Energy companies have also warned that the storm could knock out power for the foreseeable future in some areas. Computer models that have shown it restrengthening and moving into the Gulf are discounted at this time, but the system will have to be watched for the next several days in case it reorganizes. "The storm surge forecast associated with this storm has not changed".

If the storm, now a Category 2, arrives during high tide, the water could rise up to 13 feet along parts of the North Carolina coast.

All of this has led to fears that the state could face an environmental disaster if industrial waste - including hog manure and coal ash - is washed into people's homes.

The Wilmington region should expect immediate and long-lasting impacts as Hurricane Florence roars through.

Dead hogs and chickens were pictured floating in the floodwaters, which had been polluted with agricultural waste and petrol.

About 1.7 million people have been told to evacuate from coastal areas in the two Carolinas and Virginia.

"Flash floods often come with no warning and often cause outages, disrupt transportation, damage buildings, and create landslides", Durham officials posted on Facebook. "What can you do?" "Because it's Mother Nature".

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