Hurricane Florence: 'Life-threatening' storm starts to lash US
[September 14 2018]
North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper called the storm "historic"
The outer bands of Hurricane Florence are lashing
parts of the US East Coast.
Officials warn of life-threatening storm surges in
both North and South Carolina as the hurricane moves towards land with
maximum sustained wind speeds of 90mph (150 km/h).
More than 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.
More than a million people along the coastlines of
North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia have been ordered to
Thousands had taken shelter in emergency facilities by
Photographs showed residents crowded into corridors
with blankets on inflatable mattresses and mats.
What is the latest?
Conditions deteriorated throughout Thursday as wind
speeds gradually strengthened in coastal areas.
Some areas of North Carolina saw almost a foot of rain
just a few hours, and footage showed sea levels begin to surge in land.
At 23:00 local time (03:00 GMT) the National Hurricane
Centre said wind speeds had slightly lowered, making it a category one
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
"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.
How bad is it expected to get?
The latest 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 expected to weaken on Saturday as
the storm moves slowly across land.
Meteorologists have warned floodwaters may rise up to
13ft (4m) in areas as some rivers see their flows "reversed".
Parts of the Carolina coast are expecting 20-30
(50-75cm) inches of rain, with isolated regions seeing up to 40in of
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, is imposing a 12-hour
curfew from 19:00 local time on Thursday.
Petrol stations in the area are reporting shortages
and energy companies predict that one to three million homes and
businesses may lose power.
Officials have warned restorations to electricity
could take days or even weeks.
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.
North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper warned people:
"Today the threat becomes a reality."
Emergency workers are arriving from other parts of the
US to aid in rescues
The Coast Guard has shallow-water response boats ready
to help trapped residents.
Is global warming to blame?
The relationship between climate change and hurricanes
is a complex one.
Warmer seas power hurricanes. So as the temperature of
ocean water goes up, we might expect the intensity of hurricanes to
increase in future.
A hotter atmosphere can also hold more water, so this
should allow hurricanes to dump more water on affected areas.
But there are so many factors that contribute to these
rare events, it has been difficult to tease out clear trends from the
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