North and South Carolina have been bracing themselves for what is expected to be a major hurricane making landfall overnight going into Friday, and the first effects of Hurricane Florence are certainly making themselves known.
As reported by CNN, on Thursday, the rivers in the area began to overflow their banks, with floodwaters filling the streets as the rain started to turn sideways in the strong winds battering the coastal areas.
Florence is currently a Category 2 storm, having been downgraded first to a Category 3 storm after initially being classified as Category 4. Nevertheless, while the hurricane strength winds have not yet reached the coast, areas such as Cape Lookout are already experiencing winds of sustained speeds at 83 mph and gusts all the way up to 106 mph.
Towns on the barrier islands and on the Tar Heel state’s rivers were first to feel the effects, and are expected to get the eye of the hurricane by the early hours of Friday morning.
Reporters in the area of New Bern, on the Neuse River, have had to evacuate as the floodwaters continued to rise, making it too dangerous.
A weather station in Atlantic Beach has already recorded “a total of 12.73 inches for a 24-hour period.”
Carolina Beach saw massive waves crashing over the dunes that mark the end of the beach, leaving the water flowing freely into the town.
“With this storm, it’s a Category 2 but the storm surge and the flooding is going to be that of a category 4,” CNN Meteorologist Jennifer Gray said Thursday night, warning that the impact of the momentum Florence has gathered while brewing in the Atlantic for the past week “won’t go away just because the winds decrease a couple miles an hour.”
While people have focused mostly on the Category of the storm, forecasters have issued warnings that what will make Florence deadly are the “potentially deadly storm surges, the expected mammoth coastal flooding, and historic rainfall.”
As the storm nears land, Florence is expected to hit the coast with hurricane force winds and relentless rain “at least through Saturday.”
“It’s not going to take much in a lot of these areas to saturate the soil, so trees are going to come down really easily and knock down power lines,” said Ken Graham, director of the National Hurricane Center.
As previously reported by the Inquisitr, governors in the Carolinas were forced to issue evacuation orders for almost a million people on Wednesday.