Local woman stays in North Carolina despite arrival of Hurricane Florence

National Hurricane Center

Beside inundating the coast with wind-driven storm, Florence could dump 20 to 30 inches (51-76 cm) of rain, with up to 40 inches in parts of North Carolina, the National Hurricane Center predicts.

Hurricane Florence is nearing the southeast USA coast, and the National Hurricane Center is providing frequent updates about the storm's movements.

North Carolina's Republican-controlled legislature enacted House Bill 819 (pdf)-which became law without any action by then-Gov. Emerald Isle is about 84 miles (135 kilometers) north of Wilmington.

Farther up the coast, in New Bern, about 150 people waited to be rescued from flooding on the Neuse River, WXII-TV reported.

Her friend Kate is refusing to evacuate as well because of "the idea of having to leave with my two cats and go somewhere for a week or more".

The main concerns for us from Florence will be moderately heavy rainfall, which will cause flooded roadways, strong gusty winds, coastal flooding, moderate potential for downed trees and widespread power outages, and unsafe travel conditions.

On Thursday evening, Florence's forward movement was just 5mph. Forecasters said catastrophic freshwater flooding is expected well inland over the next few days as Florence crawls across the Carolinas. "Surviving this storm will be a test of endurance, teamwork, common sense and patience".

Prisoners were affected, too. Duke anticipates 1 million to 3 million of their 4 million customers in the Carolinas will lose power from Florence.

Airlines have cancelled more than 1,500 flights, and coastal towns across the Carolinas are largely empty after 1.7 million people in three states were told to clear out. "A watch is typically issued 48 hours before the anticipated first occurrence of tropical-storm-force winds, conditions that make outside preparations hard or unsafe".

About midday on Thursday (local time), Spanish moss blew sideways in the trees as the winds increased in Wilmington, and floating docks bounced atop swells at Morehead City. Ocean water flowed between homes and on to streets on the Outer Banks; waves crashed against wooden fishing piers.

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.

The storm's first casualties included a mother and her baby, who died when a tree fell on their brick house in Wilmington, North Carolina. Its forward movement increased slightly to 6 miles per hour (9 kph).

Most people are trying to leave North Carolina as Hurricane Florence starts to move in, but Heather Foster, of Litchfield, went visit her daughter, Jazzmyne Constable, who lives in Wilmington.

Forecasters said conditions will deteriorate as the storm pushes ashore early Friday near the North Carolina-South Carolina line and makes its way slowly inland.

Florence was seen as a major test for FEMA, which was heavily criticized as slow and unprepared a year ago for Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, where the storm was blamed for almost 3,000 deaths in the desperate months that followed. For a depiction of areas at risk, please see the National Weather Service Storm Surge Watch/Warning Graphic, available at hurricanes.gov.

The hurricane was seen as a major test for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which was heavily criticized as sluggish and unprepared for Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico a year ago.

Workers are being brought in from the Midwest and Florida to help in the storm's aftermath, the company said.

With winds picking up along the coastline early Thursday, federal and state officials had issued final appeals to residents to get out of the path of the "once in a lifetime" weather system. "The infrastructure is going to break, the power is going to go out".

"This is our only home".

"But once we get to that nine foot range this is an absolute life threatening scenario", she said. "We chose to hunker down". "We have a safe basement and generator that comes on automatically".

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