'Monster' Hurricane Florence takes aim at U.S. Southeast

Katie Ramirez
September 12, 2018

"All you have to do is look up at your ceiling, and think about 12ft [of water]. That, folks, is extremely life-threatening".

After declaring compulsory evacuations on Tuesday, North Carolina Governor, Roy Cooper, said: "This storm is nothing like you've ever seen".

While many coastal residents heeded mandatory evacuation orders, others boarded up homes and businesses and chose to fearless the storm, which is forecast to trigger severe flash flooding as it dumps as many as three feet (almost a meter) of rain in some areas. North Carolina's Hatteras Island, as well as northern parts of the Outer Banks, are under mandatory evacuation.

The southeastern coast of the United States is preparing for the oncoming impact of Hurricane Florence.

Florence could potentially track more to the north, keeping it east of Bermuda and over the open waters of the central Atlantic next weekend and into the following week before being moved along by an eastward jet stream. We've never seen anything like this on the East Coast, at least. SC and North Carolina have ordered evacuations for people living in vulnerable areas along the coast.

For many people, the challenge could be finding a safe refuge: If Florence slows to a crawl, it could bring torrential rains into the Appalachian mountains, causing flash floods and mudslides across a region getting lots of rain recently.

"We are already experiencing heavily impacted traffic on some of the evacuation routes", said Jeff Byard, the associate administrator for response and recovery at the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

Half a dozen nuclear power plants, pits holding coal-ash and numerous hog farms are on the storm's path.

Strengthening is forecast through Wednesday.

Although Florence was still days from arrival, authorities took extraordinary measures to move people out of harm's way. Models are but one piece of putting together a forecast, but the guidance they're providing right now is really worrisome.

CORRECTS DATE TO SEPT. 11 NOT 1- This enhanced satellite image made available by NOAA shows Tropical Storm Florence upper left in the Atlantic Ocean on Tuesday Sept. 11 2018 at 3:30 p.m. EDT. At center is Tropical Storm Isaac and at right is Hurrica

It was a potentially catastrophic Category 4 storm but was expected to keep drawing energy from the warm water and intensify to near Category 5, which means winds of 157 miles per hour (253 kph) or higher.

Winds along the Carolina coast will reach tropical storm-force (39 miles per hour) early Thursday morning.

At 2 a.m., the storm was centered 625 miles (1,005 km) southeast of Cape Fear, North Carolina, moving at 17 mph (28 kph).

Two other hurricanes, Helene and Isaac, are now trailing Florence in the Atlantic and forecasters have warned that they could head for the UK.

Meanwhile, there are two other storms in the vicinity - Isaac and Olivia have become tropical storms, with the former heading for the Caribbean and the latter set to hit Hawaii early on Wednesday.

Airlines, including American, Southwest, Delta and JetBlue, have begun letting affected passengers change travel plans without the usual fees.

South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster on Monday ordered the mandatory evacuation of one million coastal residents.

"Based on that information, I have made a decision to order a mandatory evacuation of Zone A in Hampton Roads and the Eastern Shore", Northam said Monday.

"This is one of the worst storms to hit the East Coast in many years", Trump warned on Twitter. She said her house, built in 2009 in Buxton, North Carolina, is on a ridge and built to withstand a hurricane. If it does grow, the bigger wind field will give it a wider reach to whip more water toward the coast.

"You never know, there could be tree missiles coming from any direction", she said.

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