Many US residents seek shelter from hurricane at Myrtle Beach resort

Audrey Hill
September 16, 2018

Tropical Storm Florence dumped "epic" amounts of rain on North and SC as it trudged inland on Saturday, knocking out power and causing at least eight deaths as flood waters that have devastated many communities kept rising.

Regardless of whether or not Florence moves inland swiftly or stalls, risky surf conditions will extend as far to the north as Nova Scotia, as far to the south as the east-central Florida coast and the northeast-facing shoreline of the Bahamas and as far to the east as Bermuda.

Florence is expected to go move slowly as it approaches North and SC, whipping hurricane-force winds and dumping relentless rain at least through Saturday.

"A lot of people left this morning, because they said it was down to Category Two but a Two can still do a lot of damage", she said, noting that even in the lower classification, Florence's winds would be buffeting at 100 miles per hour (161 kilometers per hour). "A slow motion across portions of eastern and central SC is forecast Friday night through Saturday night".

Florence's centre was about 40km east of Wilmington, North Carolina at 4am on Friday and moving west at 10km/h, the NHC said.

Forecasters said conditions will only get more lethal as the storm smashes ashore early Friday near the North Carolina-South Carolina line and crawls slowly inland.

Myrtle Beach, a SC beach resort, was virtually deserted with empty streets, boarded up storefronts and very little traffic. A few hearty locals gathered at Cape Fear Wine and Beer pub in downtown Wilmington.

The hurricane center downgraded Florence to a tropical storm later in the day.

Roads and intersections on North Carolina's Outer Banks barrier islands were already inundated with water.

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper called Florence an "uninvited brute" that could wipe out entire communities as it grinds across the state.

Other officials have warned the storm could also bring landslides to SC. "Our meteorologists are saying that the rainfall amounts will be devastating in certain areas", he said. The rainfall will cause prolonged significant river flooding.

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"The idea of having to leave with my two cats and go somewhere for a week or more. once you leave, you don't know how many days it will be before you can return", a Wilmington resident named Kate tells VOA.

About 800 flights in the region were canceled ahead of the storm, CNN reported.

Winds and rain were arriving later in SC, and a few people were still walking on the sand at Myrtle Beach while North Carolina was getting pounded.

Officials in several states have declared states of emergency, including in the Carolinas, Georgia, Virginia and Maryland, where coastal areas are still recovering from summer storms.

Water kills more people in hurricanes than wind does.

A hurricane watch is in effect for Edisto Beach, SC, to South Santee River, SC.

A tropical storm warning is in effect for Edisto Beach, SC, to Cape Hatteras, NC, and the Pamlico Sound.

Forecasters say the combination of a life-threatening storm surge and the tide will cause normally dry areas near the coast to be flooded by rising waters moving inland from the shoreline.

Florence's weakening as it neared the coast created tension between some who left home and authorities who anxious that the storm could still be deadly. The vivid presentation - powered by the Unreal Engine, most commonly used in video games - seems likely to serve as a more pressing demonstration of the storm's threat than a mere written warning, and that's vitally important for folks in impacted areas.

However, the surge is expected to be accompanied by large and destructive waves, regardless of when the storm arrives. "Work will begin when conditions safely allow", the company said on its website on Saturday.

The East Coast isn't the only area facing the brunt of a storm.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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