Millions prepare for potentially catastrophic Hurricane Florence
14 September, 2018, 14:11 | Author: Bertha Harmon
Packing winds of up to 220 km/h (140 mph) late Monday, Florence was expected to further strengthen and become "an extremely unsafe major hurricane" by the time in makes landfall in the Carolinas on Thursday, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) said in a 21:00 UTC update. Officials ordered residents and visitors to begin evacuating the Outer Banks.
Governors in the Carolinas and Virginia already had declared emergencies, and some sought federal aid as well.
For many, the challenge could be finding a safe refuge.
That has resulted in models indicating Florence will take more of a westerly route, away from Central Virginia.
The storm's potential path also includes half a dozen nuclear power plants, pits holding coal-ash and other industrial waste, and numerous eastern pig farms that store animal waste in massive open-air lagoons.
AccuWeather meteorologist Brett Rossi said the ground in North and SC and Virginia is already saturated from recent rains.
NHC Director Ken Graham warned of "staggering" amounts of rainfall that may extend hundreds of miles inland and cause flash flooding across the mid-Atlantic region.
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"The centre of Florence will move over the southwestern Atlantic Ocean between Bermuda and the Bahamas Tuesday and Wednesday, and approach the southeastern coast of the U.S. on Thursday", the NHC said.
"This is a real hurricane we have coming", McMaster said.
By noon on Monday, Florence had top sustained winds of 130mph. American, Delta, United, Southwest, JetBlue, Spirit, Frontier, and Alaska have all issued fee waiver policies for some airports in Virginia and North and SC. 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. Usually storms come to the Carolinas and mid-Atlantic from the south - and those usually curve safely out to sea.
Florence is predicted to make an overnight landfall Friday west of Wilmington, NC.
Preparations for Florence were intensifying up and down the densely populated east coast.
Both governors pointed out the storms impact will reach well beyond the coast.
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Forecasters said the hurricane's strength is expected to fluctuate but it still will be a unsafe storm by the time it reaches the coast of SC or North Carolina on Thursday.
"Little change in strength is expected before the eye of Florence reaches the coast, with slow weakening expected after the center moves inland or meanders near the coast", it said.
"The evacuation order will be inconvenient, but we do not want to sacrifice one SC life, we are not going to gamble the lives of SC people", McMaster said.
"It does look a bit similar to Harvey in a sense that it goes roaring into shore and then comes to a screeching stop", said MIT meteorology professor and hurricane expert Kerry Emanuel.
Hurricane watches and storm surge watches are expected to be issued Tuesday morning ahead of the arrival of Florence.
"First of all it's important to get the notion across to the team that they can't worry or assume anything", Hokies coach Justin Fuente said.
Tropical Storm Florence turns into a hurricane
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Because the storm was so strong earlier in the week, it built up a wall of water which will push inland as the storm surge. More than 1.7 million people were warned to evacuate and get out of the way of the "life-threatening" storm's path.
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Hurricane Florence threatens millions on US East Coast
A police vehicle patrols the beach ahead of the arrival of Hurricane Florence in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, U.S. The storm is expected to be just offshore by Friday and is now a Category 3 storm with 125mph top sustained winds.
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