Heavy downpours cause flood and wreak havoc across Hawke’s Bay

The severe weather forced the closure of the Napier-Taupo highway. Source: 1 NEWS



Super Typhoon Mangkhut retains ferocious strength, changes path toward more populated area of Philippines

Super Typhoon Mangkhut has retained its ferocious strength and slightly shifted toward more densely populated coastal provinces as it barrels closer to the northeastern Philippines, where a massive evacuation is underway.

More than 4 million people are at risk from the storm, which the Hawaii-based Joint Typhoon Warning Center categorizes as a super typhoon with powerful winds and gusts equivalent to a category 5 Atlantic hurricane.

Forecaster Chris Perez says the typhoon was initially expected to hit the northern tip of Cagayan province but it's now likely to make landfall farther south. He says the shift won't cause much difference because of the typhoon's massive size.

After the Philippines, the Hong Kong Observatory predicts it will plow into the Chinese mainland with sustained winds of 175 kilometres per hour.

Filipino forecaster Meno Mendoza illustrates the path of Typhoon Mangkhut, locally named "Typhoon Ompong" as it approaches the Philippines with sustained winds of 205 kilometers per hour (127 miles per hour) and gusts of up to 255 kph (158 mph), at the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration in metropolitan Manila, Philippines on Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2018. Philippine officials say they plan to evacuate thousands of villagers, shut down schools and offices and scramble to harvest rice and corn as the most powerful typhoon so far this year menacingly roars toward the country's north. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)
Typhoon Mangkhut. Source: Associated Press


Watch: Storm chaser captures petrol pump canopy collapsing during Hurricane Florence - 'There it goes, boom'

A storm chaser has filmed the destructive power of Hurricane Florence, as he captured a petrol station pump canopy collapsing in the ferocious winds.

The dramatic images were livestreamed on the Tornado Alley Video YouTube channel this afternoon as Category 2 Hurricane Florence begins to batter North Carolina.

The storm chaser was parked in his car near a BP petrol station when the canopy collapsed in front of him.

"There it goes, boom!" he exclaimed as the canopy came down with a mighty crash.

Around 100,000 properties have been reported to have lost power in the massive hurricane.

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper says there are over 12,000 people in 126 shelters as the first effects of Hurricane Florence begin to batter the state.

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Cameraman hangs on grimly as he's swept away by Hurricane Florence storm surge in North Carolina

A cameraman has been filmed clinging on as a storm surge from Hurricane Florence swept him off his feet at a North Carolina beach.

The cameraman from Live Storm Media can be seen in the video holding his camera as he’s dragged past a house at North Topsail Beach.

Eventually, he manages to cling on to the ground behind a tree.

The surge was caused by the outer bands of wind and rain from a weakened but still lethal Hurricane Florence.

The monster storm is set for a prolonged and potentially catastrophic drenching along the Southeast coast.

Florence's winds had dropped from a peak of 225 kph to 165 kph by midmorning, reducing the hurricane from a terrifying Category 4 to a 2.

But forecasters warned that the widening storm — and its likelihood of lingering around the coast day after day — will bring seawater surging onto land and torrential downpours.

"It truly is really about the whole size of this storm," National Hurricane Centre Director Ken Graham said. "The larger and the slower the storm is, the greater the threat and the impact - and we have that."

It’s predicted the fierce weather system will linger over the Carolina coast for days, not hours. Source: 1 NEWS

As of 3am (New Zealand time), Florence was centred about 230 kilometres southeast of Wilmington, its forward movement slowed to 17 kph. Hurricane-force winds extended 130 kilometres from its centre, with tropical-storm-force winds of up to 315 kilometres.

Forecasters said Florence's eye could come ashore Saturday morning around the North Carolina-South Carolina line. Then it is likely to hover along the coast Sunday, pushing up to nearly 4 metres of storm surge and unloading water on both states.

The forecast calls for as much as 102 centimetres of rain over seven days along the coast, with the deluge continuing even as the centre of the storm pushes its way over the Appalachian Mountains.

The result could be similar to what the Houston area saw during Hurricane Harvey just over a year ago: catastrophic inland flooding that could swamp homes, businesses, farms and industrial sites.


Hurricane Florence weakens as its outer winds hit US, but storm still regarded as lethal

The outer bands of wind and rain from a weakened but still lethal Hurricane Florence began lashing North Carolina on Thursday as the monster storm moved in for a prolonged and potentially catastrophic drenching along the Southeast coast.

Florence's winds had dropped from a peak of 225 kph to 165 kph by midmorning, reducing the hurricane from a terrifying Category 4 to a 2. But forecasters warned that the widening storm — and its likelihood of lingering around the coast day after day — will bring seawater surging onto land and torrential downpours.

"It truly is really about the whole size of this storm," National Hurricane Centre Director Ken Graham said. "The larger and the slower the storm is, the greater the threat and the impact - and we have that."

It’s predicted the fierce weather system will linger over the Carolina coast for days, not hours. Source: 1 NEWS

As of 11 a.m. EDT, Florence was centred about 230 kilometres southeast of Wilmington, its forward movement slowed to 17 kph. Hurricane-force winds extended 80 miles 130 kilometres from its centre, and tropical-storm-force winds up to 315 kilometres.

Forecasters said Florence's eye could come ashore early Friday around the North Carolina-South Carolina line. Then it is likely to hover along the coast Saturday, pushing up to nearly 4 metres of storm surge and unloading water on both states.

By midday, Spanish moss blew sideways in the trees as the winds increased in Wilmington. On North Carolina's Outer Banks, water flowed through streets and between beachfront homes, and some of the few people still left in Nags Head took photos of angry waves topped with white froth.

The forecast calls for as much as 102 centimetres of rain over seven days along the coast, with the deluge continuing even as the centre of the storm pushes its way over the Appalachian Mountains.

The result could be what the Houston area saw during Hurricane Harvey just over a year ago: catastrophic inland flooding that could swamp homes, businesses, farms and industrial sites.

The police chief of a barrier island in Florence's bulls'-eye said he was asking for next-of-kin contact information from the few residents who refused to leave.

"I'm not going to put our personnel in harm's way, especially for people that we've already told to evacuate," Wrightsville Beach Police Chief Dan House said.

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper urged residents to remain alert despite changing forecasts.

"Don't relax, don't get complacent. Stay on guard. This is a powerful storm that can kill. Today the threat becomes a reality," he said.

About 5.25 million people live in areas under hurricane warnings or watches, and 4.9 million in places covered by tropical storm warnings or watches, the National Weather Service said.

Weather Underground meteorology director Jeff Masters said Florence eventually could strike as a Category 1 with winds less than 160 kph, but that's still enough to cause at least $1 billion in damage. Water kills more people in hurricanes than wind does.

Scientists said it is too soon to say what role, if any, global warming played in the storm. But previous research has shown that the strongest hurricanes are getting wetter, more intense and intensifying faster because of human-caused climate change.

It's unclear exactly how many people fled ahead of the storm, but more than 1.7 million people in the Carolinas and Virginia were warned to clear out.

Airlines cancelled about 1,200 flights and counting, and some airports in the Carolinas virtually shut down. Home Depot and Lowe's activated emergency response centres and sent in around 1,100 trucks to get generators, trash bags and bottled water to stores before and after the storm.

Duke Energy, the nation's No. 2 power company, said Florence could knock out electricity to three-quarters of its 4 million customers in the Carolinas, and outages could last for weeks. Workers are being brought in from the Midwest and Florida to help in the storm's aftermath, it said.

Florence's weakening as it neared the coast created tension between some who left home and authorities who worried that the storm could still be deadly.

Frustrated after evacuating his beach home for a storm that has since been downgraded, retired nurse Frederick Fisher grumbled in the lobby of a hotel in Wilmington several miles inland.

"Against my better judgement, due to emotionalism, I evacuated," he said. "I've got four cats inside the house. If I can't get back in a week, after a while they might turn on each other or trash the place."

Body surfer Andrew Vanotteren, of Savannah, Ga., crashes into waves from Hurricane Florence, Wednesday, Sept., 12, 2018, on the south beach of Tybee Island, Ga. Vanotteren and his friend Bailey Gaddis said the waves have gotten bigger and better every evening as the storm approaches. (AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton)
A body surfer takes advantage of the waves in Georgia. Source: Associated Press