Time almost up: Fierce Hurricane Florence aims at Southeast

13 September, 2018, 13:45 | Author: Harriet Bell
  • Chuck Ledford and his daughter Misty seek shelter at Emma B. Trask Middle School in Wilmington North Carolina

Hurricane Florence's rainfall now lurks just over 100 miles off the coast of the Carolinas and time is running out to prepare.

The storm is expected to bring tropical storm-force winds, life-threatening storm surges of seawater and 35 inches (89 cm) of rain to parts of the Carolinas and Virginia, where intense inland flooding was expected, the center said. But authorities warn Florence has an enormous wind field as it zeroes in on the Southeast U.S. coast, raising the risk of the ocean surging on to land and making Florence extremely unsafe.

Myrtle Beach's Ocean Boulevard was practically empty at midday on Wednesday, September 12, as the SC town prepared for the arrival of Hurricane Florence.

Sustained winds dropped to 110 miles per hour as the storm moved northwest at 17 miles per hour.

Deal's declaration Wednesday covers comes as the National Weather Service's storm forecast shows a chance that Florence's track might turn toward the southwest as it approaches the Carolinas later this week.

Even with some weakening that's predicted just before it makes landfall, the storm "is expected to remain a unsafe major hurricane as it approaches the coastline", the hurricane center said.

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Hurricane Florence may now be dipping a bit south and hitting a portion of the Great State of Georgia. Executives in North and South Carolina, Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia declared emergencies earlier in the week.

More than 1.7 million people were warned to evacuate and get out of the way of the "life-threatening" storm's path. A storm surge warning is out for the same stretch of coastline.

North Carolina resident David Hoffman has heard all the mandatory evacuation warnings as Hurricane Florence gets closer. Unsure of what they might find when they return home, the couple went shopping for a recreational vehicle. So we could have two landfalls - one around Wilmington and then one near Myrtle Beach or even south of there. Three other Southern raceways also opened campgrounds to evacuees.

"We will experience power outages, we will have infrastructure damage, there will be homes damaged, there will be debris on the roads - this will be a storm that creates and causes massive damage to our country", announced Jeffrey Byard, Response and Recovery administrator for FEMA.

The trend is "exceptionally bad news", said University of Miami hurricane researcher Brian McNoldy, since it "smears a landfall out over hundreds of miles of coastline, most notably the storm surge".

"It's been really nice", Nicole Roland said.

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