North Carolina coast feels Florence’s first blast of wind, rain

Barbara Timberlake walks with her dog Danny past a boarded up store on the river front in downtown Wilmington, N.C., as Hurricane Florence threatens the coast. (AP Photo)
Updated 13 September 2018
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North Carolina coast feels Florence’s first blast of wind, rain

  • The slow-moving tempest began to unleash fierce rains that forecasters warned would cause catastrophic flooding across a wide swath of the US southeast
  • An estimated 10 million people live in the storm’s path and coastal businesses and homes were boarded up in anticipation

WILMINGTON: Hurricane Florence’s winds began whipping coastal North Carolina on Thursday as the slow-moving tempest began to unleash fierce rains that forecasters warned would cause catastrophic flooding across a wide swath of the US southeast.
The center of Florence is expected to hit North Carolina’s southern coast Friday, then drift southwest before moving inland on Saturday, enough time to drop as much as 40 inches (1 meter) of rain in places, according to the National Hurricane Center.
An estimated 10 million people live in the storm’s path, according to the US Weather Prediction Center, and coastal businesses and homes were boarded up in anticipation. More than 1 million people had been ordered to evacuate the coasts of the Carolinas and Virginia and thousands moved to emergency shelters, officials said.


Florence’s maximum sustained winds were clocked on Thursday at 105 miles per hour (165 kph) after it was downgraded to a Category 2 on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale, according to the NHC. The winds had been as high as 140 mph earlier in the week when the storm had rated as a Category 4 major storm, but North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper warned against complacency because of the drop.
“Hurricane Florence was uninvited but she’s just about here anyway,” he said at a news conference. “My message today: Don’t relax. Don’t get complacent. Stay on guard. This is a powerful storm that can kill. Today the threat becomes a reality.”
The storm’s center was about 145 miles (230 km) east of Wilmington, North Carolina, at 11 a.m. EDT (1500 GMT) but tropical storm-strength winds and heavy rains already were hitting North Carolina’s Outer Banks barrier islands. Some 6,000 power outages had already been reported by 10 a.m. EDT (1400 GMT).
Florence could bring wind-driven storm surges of seawater as high as 13 feet (4 meters) and NHC Director Ken Graham said on Facebook they could push in as far as 2 miles (3 km). Heavy rains were forecast to extend into the Appalachian mountains, affecting parts of Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky and West Virginia.

 


Top French court rejects Syria-based French militants’ repatriation demands

Updated 27 min 22 sec ago
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Top French court rejects Syria-based French militants’ repatriation demands

  • Western nations have been wrestling with how to handle suspected militants

PARIS: France’s top administrative court on Tuesday rejected demands by Syria-based French women to be repatriated back to France, arguing that a judge could not rule on the issue given it involved negotiations with foreign authorities.
“The Council of State (Conseil d’Etat) rejects the demands for repatriation made by French nationals and for their children, currently in Syria,” said the court in a statement.
Western nations have been wrestling with how to handle suspected militants and their families seeking to return from combat zones in Iraq and Syria, as well as those in detention.
In February, France said it would not for now act on US President Donald Trump’s call for European allies to repatriate hundreds of Islamic State fighters from Syria, adding it would take back militants on a “case-by-case” basis.