Schools CLOSE as evacuations MULTIPLY ahead of landfall

14 September, 2018, 06:05 | Author: Tara Reeves
  • NC rep asks Trump for expedited disaster declaration ahead of Hurricane Florence

South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster ordered a statewide coastal evacuation ahead of Hurricane Florence, which is forecast to slam into the Carolinas as a Category 4 monster storm.

"Please be prepared, be careful and be SAFE!"

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper expressed concern surrounding the increasing intensity of the storm, and urged residents to make necessary preparations. Virginia's governor ordered a mandatory evacuation for some residents of low-lying coastal areas, while some coastal counties in North Carolina have done the same.

If the storm stalls, some areas could see feet of rain, especially if downpours focus over the higher terrain in western North Carolina and southwestern and central Virginia Authorities said such volume could cause flash floods, mudslides, and other unsafe conditions. This includes cities in the path of Florence such as Wilmington and Cape Hatteras in North Carolina and Norfolk, Virginia.

Some forecasts call for Florence to stall out after it strikes the coast. Landfall is expected Thursday and the storm is projected to slow its movement to a near crawl after coming over land, which could produce torrential flooding from the mountains to the coast, forecasters said.

He estimated about 1 million residents would flee the coast of his state, following earlier orders for the evacuation of more than 50,000 people from the southern-most Outer Banks barrier islands of North Carolina.

At this height of the Atlantic hurricane season, Florence is being trailed on east-to-west paths by two other hurricanes, Helene and Isaac.

"Further strengthening is anticipated and Florence is expected to be an extremely risky major hurricane through Thursday", the NHC said in a statement.

Hurricane Florence is at the doorstep of North and SC, and she's not going away anytime soon.

Maximum sustained winds were clocked at 140 miles per hour (220 kph) as it moved west-northwest at 13 miles per hour (20 kph).

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According to the National Hurricane Center, Florence has maximum sustained winds near 130 miles per hour.

A Category 4 storm has sustained winds from 130 to 156 miles per hour.

"The bottom line is that there is increasing confidence that Florence will be a large and extremely unsafe hurricane, regardless of its exact intensity", he said.

"Once Florence moves inland, it is expected to weaken and move very slowly, resulting in a prolonged and exceptionally heavy rainfall event along and north of the track", he said.

"The hurricane's wind field is expected to grow with time as it approaches the coast of the Carolinas", said John Quagliariello from the National Weather Service in Columbia.

The blasting wind and surging water may also damage some of the 16 nuclear reactors located in North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia. It was centered about 1,230 miles (1,985 kilometers) east-southeast of Cape Fear, North Carolina, and moving west at 13 mph (20 kph).

About an hour after the Category 3 upgrade came another - to Category 4.

Horry and Georgetown counties shifted their operating conditions at noon Monday as Hurricane Florence continued to strengthen and head toward the Carolina coast.

Some 7 million people, primarily in Florida, were asked to flee from Hurricane Irma last September, the largest mass evacuation in USA history, easily surpassing the 2.5 million who were ordered to evacuate during Hurricane Matthew in October 2016. Its center will move between Bermuda and the Bahamas on Tuesday and Wednesday and approach the coast of SC or North Carolina on Thursday, the National Hurricane Center said.

"We know the evacuation order I'm issuing will be inconvenient", McMaster said.

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