Florence to bring life-threatening storm surge

Mindy Sparks
September 12, 2018

Forecasts from the National Hurricane Center on September 11 showed Florence reach North and SC as the weekend begins.

"If you ask a Guardsman, 'Why did you join the Guard, ?' they will tell you, 'This is why I do this, for my community", said McCarty.

"I'm concerned people may be taken off-guard by a change in forecast track", Needham said. And with little wind shear to pull the storm apart, Florence's hurricane wind field was expected to expand over the coming days, increasing its storm surge and inland wind threats.

More than 1.5 million people in the massive storm's path have been ordered to evacuate.

All three states ordered mass evacuations along the coast.

The storm's 175-mile (282 km) wide "cone of probability" suggests the storm will likely hit North Carolina's coast near Cape Fear, but storms fall outside the cone one-third of the time, according to The Weather Channel. The very center of that bullseye may be Camp Lejeune, the sprawling Marine Corps training base, where authorities were opening emergency operation centers, staging equipment and urging families on the base to build survival kits with food and equipment needed to sustain themselves for 72 hours. It's going to destroy infrastructure.

This could add another metre or more of surge, which is forecast to be as high as four metres in some parts of North Carolina.

The nearly 500-mile wide storm swirling towards the United States east coast "could be the most unsafe storm in the history of the Carolinas", the Federal Emergency Management Agency (Fema) administrator, Brock Long, warned on Tuesday afternoon. "We're just a strip of land - we're a barrier island", she said. It may move a little north into Virginia or a little south into SC.

But the slowing also means the bands of the heaviest rain that swirl around the hurricane are likely to do what meteorologists call training, a phenomenon where rain bands pass over one location repeatedly.

It may be a sunny, blue-sky day, with a hurricane still tracking days away, but in the lead-up to the storm, rip currents can still strengthen and pull people out to sea.

Paula Matheson of Springfield, Oregon, got the full Southern experience during her 10-week RV vacation: hot weather, good food, attractive beaches and, finally, a hurricane evacuation.

Business owners prepare for Hurricane Florence in Wrightsville Beach, N.C.

"The water could overtake some of these barrier islands and keep on going". The water was fabulous.

Shutdowns also were possible at two more plants in the path of predicted hurricane-force winds.

Virginia Governor Ralph Northam has issued a mandatory evacuation for a portion of Hampton Roads and the Eastern Shore in preparation of the impact of Hurricane Florence.

The Marine Corps, with its large concentration of people in North Carolina, could be especially affected. "We've seen nor'easters and we've seen hurricanes before", Cooper said, "but this one is different".

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