Hurricane Florence: Storm force winds for North Carolina within hours

Katie Ramirez
September 13, 2018

Forecasts project the center of Florence to make landfall around the South and North Carolina border on Friday as a Category 3 or 4 hurricane.

Forecasters with The Washington Post's Capital Weather Gang are now saying Florence is a Category 4 storm that could bring very risky winds, flash flooding and power outages.

"This is a real hurricane that we have coming and our goal is to protect lives and property", said Steve Goldstein, NOAA liaison to FEMA.

"We have seen a dramatic shift in the track", Scasny said, adding that big changes to the storm's behavior could emerge within the next two days.

Georgia's governor has declared a state of emergency for all 159 counties as forecasters now say Hurricane Florence could take a southwest turn.

More than one million people have been told to evacuate the Carolina and Virginia coastlines, while residents were desperately pulling shutters down over schools and factories.

Helene was weakening, however, and posed no danger to land, the NHC said, while Isaac could bring heavy rain to Martinique, Dominica and Guadeloupe.

"It's going to destroy homes", said Jeff Byard, an official at the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

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Duke Energy, the nation's No. 2 power company, said Florence could knock out electricity to three-quarters of its 4 million customers in the Carolinas, and outages could last for weeks. In South Carolina, close to the Georgia line, Beaufort County emergency chief Neil Baxley told residents they need to prepare again for the worst just in case.

Coastal residents fleeing a potentially devastating blow from Hurricane Florence encountered empty gasoline pumps and depleted store shelves as the monster storm neared the Carolina coast on Wednesday.

At least eight of Boeing's 787 aircrafts were flown out of the SC factory where they are built on Tuesday.

The first tropical storm-force winds of at least 39 miles per hour (63 kph) were forecast to hit the coast on Thursday.

Data collected during the flight allows the NOAA to keep a watchful eye on the most powerful storm to date in the 2018 Atlantic hurricane season, to research its speed, intensity and structure.

With South Carolina's beach towns more in the bull's-eye because of the shifting forecast, OH vacationers Chris and Nicole Roland put off their departure from North Myrtle Beach to get the maximum amount of time on the sand.

"It's been really nice", Nicole Roland said. "Everyone was sold out", she said. "You feel like you should have already left".

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