The force of Hurricane Florence | Register

Mindy Sparks
September 12, 2018

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, with 225 kilometres per hour winds and drenching rain that could last for days. Unfortunately, the forecast is for the storm to stall out and drop a ton of rain in the Carolinas.

"It's what you expect if you have a shift toward more intense storms, is that you'll start seeing intensities you haven't seen before", said Gabriel Vecchi, an atmospheric scientist at Princeton who was one of the study's authors. "This is a storm that is historic, maybe once in a lifetime". To assist the South Carolina Highway patrol with a smooth transition and movement, Guardsmen were positioned on the roads at traffic control points, assisting local law enforcement with evacuation routes and lane reversals.

"This storm is going to be a direct hit", Byard told a press conference in Washington, warning of the potential for massive damage, flooding, power outages and loss of life.

A Category 4 hurricane at its strongest, Olivia spent about a week swishing around in the Pacific Ocean without making landfall before it weakened into a tropical storm.

"Re-strengthening is forecast to occur during the next day or so, and Florence is expected to be an extremely unsafe major hurricane through Thursday night", said the National Hurricane Center in its latest update. The storm is now about 950 miles from the Carolina coast line, but moving in that direction at about 15 mph.

Briefing from the Oval Office, President Donald Trump urged people to heed orders to evacuate, saying "if you are asked to leave, get out".

For a swath of the North Carolina shore from Cape Fear to Cape Lookout, the storm surge could range from 9-13 feet, the NHC said. "You're going to be displaced from your home in coastal areas. There will be flooding in inland areas as well". Storm surge will be life-threatening over the part of that coastline that ends up north of the storm center.

If this scenario plays out, meteorologists say there would be monumental rainfall totals along the coast and just inland east of the eye's landfall location.

A Category 4 hurricane when it made landfall, Hazel inundated parts of the North Carolina coast with storm surge of up to 18 feet, and later brought heavy rains and flooding as far north as Toronto.

Updated NHC forecasts showed the storm lingering near the coast, bringing days of heavy rains that could bring intense inland flooding from SC, where some areas could see as much as 40 inches (1m) of rain, to Virginia. Governors of those states have already declared states of emergency, as have the governors of Virginia and Maryland. The governors of North Carolina and Virginia have announced mandatory evacuations of hundreds of thousands more in their states. Allison Jones said she's not taking any chances.

"I'm telling them to go inland, but I'm anxious about the rain and tornadoes too", Roberts said.

Charleston, resident William Belli said he would not be among those joining the exodus.

Hazel caused 95 deaths and damages of $281 million in the US, 100 deaths and $100 million in damages in Canada, and an estimated 400 to 1,000 deaths in Haiti. "Not anxious in the least".

"I think I'd bring a social scientist in here to see what the net value of having a Category 6 designation would be", he said.

People drive over a drawbridge in Wrightsville Beach, N.C., as they evacuate the area in advance of Hurricane Florence, Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2018. Schools in 26 of the state's 46 counties were ordered closed from Tuesday. "Don't bet your life on riding out a monster", he said.

Smithfield Foods Inc [SFII.UL] said it would shut down the world's largest hog-slaughtering facility in Tar Heel, North Carolina, on Thursday and Friday due to the hurricane. The AP is exclusively responsible for all content.

Electricity was out for weeks, and the National Guard was called in to help with the cleanup.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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