Why a weaker, Category 2 hurricane is still unsafe

13 September, 2018, 22:54 | Author: Tara Reeves
  • Peak WaPo? Editorial Board Says Trump Is 'Complicit' In Creating Hurricane Florence

That reduced Florence from a Category 4 hurricane to a Category 2, but forecasters warned that the widening storm - and its likelihood of lingering around the coast day after day after day - will bring ocean water surging onto land and torrential rain.

In the 5 a.m. ET advisory, Florence was 205 miles east-southeast of Wilmington, NC, packing maximum-sustained winds of 110 mph and moving to the northwest at 15 mph.

"We're seeing on social media, we're seeing comments and calls coming into our hotline that people are saying, 'Oh, it's only a Cat 2.' Well, only a Cat 2 has winds of up to 96 to 110 miles per hour", Derrec Becker, spokesman for the S.C. Emergency Management Division told The State on Thursday.

A satellite altimeter under the northeast quadrant, the strongest area of the storm, recorded the wave.

Ferry service from North Carolina's Bald Head Island already has stopped.

Two big fuel pipelines stand in the hurricane's path, but analysts say they think the storm is unlikely to disrupt the flow of gasoline or other products.

For a swath of the North Carolina shore from Cape Fear to Cape Lookout, the storm surge could range from 9-13 feet, the NHC said.

The National Hurricane Center's best guess was that Florence's eye would blow ashore as early as Friday afternoon around the North Carolina-South Carolina line.

"This storm is ... nothing like you've ever seen", North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper said.

Town Manager Mike Cramer said law enforcement officers will try to assess how many people are still on the island immediately south of Wilmington.

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Duke Energy Corp. expected between 25 percent and 75 percent of its 4 million customers would lose power in the Carolinas. The typhoon is expected to make landfall in the Philippines Saturday before barreling toward China, Vietnam and Laos.

As Florence closed in, some residents weighed whether to ride it out.

Carla Mahaffee said she would be riding out the storm with friends, as they do during every hurricane.

Meanwhile, lane reversals on USA 501 ended at noon and reversals on I-26 will end at 6 p.m., allowing state police and transportation workers to get to a safe location before the storm hits. North Carolina Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler said crops such as tobacco and corn are in midharvest while sweet potatoes, peanuts, soybeans and cotton are still in the field.

"The traffic control points or lane reversals are still in effect", said Joseph Hill, police chief in Horry County, S.C., at a news conference Wednesday in Myrtle Beach.

The contraflow will end Thursday at noon on 501 and at 6 p.m. on I-26.

Florence is unusual in that it is aiming at the Carolinas from the east.

Though it's far from clear how much economic havoc Hurricane Florence will inflict on the southeastern coast, from SC through Virginia, the damage won't be easily or quickly overcome. President Donald Trump declared a state of emergency on the federal level Tuesday for the Carolinas and Virginia.

In Wilmington, the fire department is urging people to prepare for at least seven days of hardship, collecting water and nonperishable foods.

Florence's expanse has even captured the attention of the astronauts and cosmonauts aboard the International Space Station, who have been tweeting pictures of the storm back to Earth. Little change in strength is expected before the center reaches the coast, with weakening expected after the center moves inland. The storm is predicted to dump up to 10 trillion gallons of rain over the affected areas, enough to cause "catastrophic flash flooding and significant river flooding". "If God's coming for you, you can't run from him".

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