Hurricane Florence Zeroes In On Carolinas, Bringing 130 MPH Winds

Katie Ramirez
September 15, 2018

"After that time, an increase in southwesterly shear, upwelling, and interaction with land is likely to lead to some weakening, however, Florence is expected to remain a unsafe major hurricane as it approaches the coastline".

The center said the water level could hit from 7 to 10 feet from Cape Fear to Cape Lookout, North Carolina, and from 6 to 9 feet from Cape Lookout to Ocracoke Inlet.

Florence had been a Category 3 hurricane on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale with 120-mph winds as of Thursday, but dropped to a Category 1 hurricane before coming ashore near Wrightsville Beach close to Wilmington.

The News & Observer reports that the storm's path shifted early Wednesday and it is now bearing down on southern North Carolina and northern SC, where it could dump up to 40 inches of rain in places.

The National Hurricane Center's best guess was that Florence would blow ashore as early as Friday afternoon around the North Carolina-South Carolina line, then push its rainy way westward with a potential for catastrophic inland flooding. The storm was about 435 miles southeast of Wilmington, North Carolina and 470 miles east-southeast of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. "In light of the storm's forecasted southward track after making landfall, I encourage Georgians to be prepared for the inland effects of the storm as well as the ensuing storm surge in coastal areas".

The National Hurricane Center said the storm would move further inland across extreme southeastern North Carolina and extreme eastern SC on Friday and Saturday.

Governor Cooper said the state would arrange a visit by Trump "at an appropriate time".

More than 1.5 million people have been ordered to evacuate along 300 miles of coastline. The only exception was Edisto Beach - that and other areas to the north remain under evacuation orders.

Hurricane Florence: Woman, baby die after tree falls on house
It was expected to begin pushing its way westward across SC later in the day, in a watery siege that could go on all weekend. About 70 people were pulled from a motel near Camp LeJeune at the height of the storm as the roof started to collapse.

For anyone needing a place to stay to escape the hurricane, both North Carolina and SC are updating their lists of emergency shelters. In North Carolina, Cooper says, "2,800 soldiers will be on active duty, joined by even more on standby".

In Wilmington, the fire department is urging people to prepare for at least seven days of hardship, collecting water and nonperishable foods.

Tropical storm-force winds extend outward up to 175 miles (280 kilometers) from its center.

Florence is now heading for ocean water that has surface temperatures of about 85 degrees, meaning it will most likely strengthen on its way to the East Coast.

Forecasters predict the storm will make landfall late Thursday night or sometime Friday.

Some areas are expected to see between 20 and 30 inches of rain through early next week in the area shaded in purple in the second image above.

"Do you want to get hit with a train or do you want to get hit with a cement truck?" said Jeff Byard, an administrator with the Federal Emergency Management Agency. "In addition to the ongoing, unsafe storm surge and flash flooding, will be a long-term river flood threat WELL INLAND as very heavy rainfall continues to fall in the coming days"'. "And we had no belief it would be as significant an event as it was", he said.

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