Flights cancelled in the US Southeast as Hurricane Florence approaches
18 September, 2018, 07:29 | Author: Harriet Bell
It's predicted the fierce weather system will linger over the Carolina coast for days, not hours.
The effects of the storm will begin being felt Thursday night as rain and high winds begin to impact North and SC.
But the real threat from Florence isn't from wind, it's from water, with the National Hurricane Centerwarning of "life-threatening storm surge and rainfall". The Saffir-Simpson scale that meteorologists use to measure hurricanes reflects only the wind speeds involved in the storm, and right now Hurricane Florence's winds are hovering at maximum speeds of about 110 miles per hour (175 km/h). The storm was downgraded to a tropical storm Friday afternoon. Hurricane-force winds extended 80 miles (130 kilometers) from its center, and tropical-storm-force winds up to 195 miles (315 kilometers).
Tropical-storm-force winds (39-plus mph) are expected to arrive in the hurricane warning area today.
The hurricane is expected to stall along the coast through Friday, which could result in as much as 30 inches of rain being dumped on both Carolinas before moving over the Appalachian Mountains.
Forecasters said that given the storm's size and sluggish track, it could cause epic damage akin to what the Houston area saw during Hurricane Harvey just over a year ago, with floodwaters swamping homes and businesses and washing over industrial waste sites and hog-manure ponds. It is now heading towards the US East Coast that it is predicted to hit on Friday.
"It's going to coming roaring up to the coast Thursday night and say 'I'm not sure I really want to do this and I'll just take a tour of the coast and decide where I want to go inland,"' said Jeff Masters, meteorology director of the private Weather Underground.
The Red Cross and the State of North Carolina have also opened the LJVM Coliseum in Winston-Salem as an evacuation shelter to house evacuees from North Carolina's coastal areas. "Don't play games with it". Both North Carolina and SC are updating their lists of emergency shelters for people caught by the storm.
Airlines cancelled almost 1,000 flights with more cancellations to come. Home Depot and Lowe's activated emergency response centres to get generators, trash bags and bottled water to stores before and after the storm. The two hardware chains said they sent in a total of around 1,100 trucks.
Power company Duke Energy said Florence could knock out electricity to three-quarters of its four 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.
Dark clouds hang off the beach of Hatteras Village at the south end of Hatteras Island, NC., on Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2018. The hurricane is now 110 miles ESE of Wilmington, North Carolina and is moving toward the northwest at 10 mph.
As Florence drew near, President Donald Trump tweeted that FEMA and first responders are "supplied and ready", and he disputed the official conclusion that almost 3,000 people died in Puerto Rico, claiming the figure was a Democratic plot to make him look bad.
Authorities in coastal areas that lie in the path of the massive storm are urging residents one last time to evacuate.
We continue to keep an eye on Hurricane Florence as the storm inches closer to the southeast coast.
With their entire neighbourhood evacuated in Wilmington, North Carolina, David and Janelle Garrigus planned to ride out Florence at their daughter's one-bedroom apartment in Charlotte. The city said early Friday that two out-of-state FEMA teams were working on swift-water rescues and more teams were on the way. The winds may be down a bit, but the one-two intense punches that we are expecting are still there. The utility room of John Hembree and Scot Perkins' Chesapeake home has become a refuge for their neighbor's birds as well as their own chickens, three dogs, turtle and cat.
Usually when a storm approaches the coast, forecasters can tell with ever-increasing accuracy who will get walloped.
If the European model is true or the overall trend persists, University of Miami hurricane researcher Brian McNoldy said it "is exceptionally bad news, as it smears a landfall out over hundreds of miles of coastline, most notably the storm surge".
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