Hurricane Florence threatens millions on US East Coast

Katie Ramirez
September 13, 2018

The National Weather Service has issued strong warnings to residents of the Carolinas and other mid-Atlantic states, saying the hurricane would be the "storm of a lifetime", bringing damaging winds, life-threatening storm surges, and "catastrophic flooding".

Hurricane Florence is now a massive Category 4 hurricane.

Forecast models predict Florence's center may slow to a crawl just off North Carolina early Friday and make a southwesterly turn - punishing the coast while moving perhaps only 2 to 3 miles per hour.

According to Fox News Senior Meteorologist Janice Dean, Florence could stall upon reaching the Carolina coast later this week and make a slight shift south toward SC once it makes landfall, becoming "a major flooding event".

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.

More than 1 million residents have been ordered to evacuate the coastline of the three states, while university campuses, schools and factories were being shuttered.

When it reaches the coastline, it could sit around for days, unloading life-threatening storm surge, unsafe winds and flooding rain.

Beaufort County could see tropical storm winds between 30 and 40 miles per hour as early as mid-day Thursday, but the area is not likely to see any direct impacts from the storm until Friday "with the strongest winds being later Saturday and into Sunday", he said.

Jeff Byard of the Federal Emergency Management Agency said it was imperative locals heed the evacuation warnings.

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The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Goes-East weather-monitoring satellite used its lightning mapping technology for a video showing Florence, Tropical Storm Isaac and Hurricane Helene as they traveled across the Atlantic on Tuesday.

The flooding will depend whether Florence slows down and lingers over coastal areas as it moves inland, Salna says.

While many people focus on the wind speed of storms, the danger often comes from the water flowing in from the ocean.

"I think Puerto Rico was incredibly successful", Trump said Tuesday, adding that he thought the storms that hit the island were "probably the hardest" thus far due to "the island nature".

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. It is the most risky of three tropical systems in the Atlantic.

North Carolina officials evacuated long-term care facilities and hundreds of prisoners in vulnerable areas, and also closed state parks, museums and other attractions.

Typhoon Mangkhut is estimated to have caused $250 million worth of damage to the Phillipines with rice and corn crops bearing the brunt of the storm.

North and SC and Virginia declared emergencies earlier in the week.

The major airlines out of Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport are bracing for Florence's impact on the east coast.

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