10M in crosshairs of Hurricane ‘Florence’

Lester Mason
September 14, 2018

This enhanced satellite image made available by NOAA shows Hurricane Florence off the eastern coast of the United States on Wednesday, September 12, 2018 at 5:52 p.m. EDT.

Storm surge is one of the clearest climate change links when talking about Florence.

MYRTLE BEACH, SOUTH CAROLINA-Time is running short to get out of the way of Hurricane "Florence", a monster of a storm that has a region of more than 10 million people in its potentially devastating sights as it zeroes in on the USA southeast coast. The category ranking of storms only describes the speed of the storm's sustained winds. In fact, we wouldn't be shocked if the camera eventually went offline in the next few hours. According to forecasters, the center of Florence is expected to hit North Carolina's southern coast Friday, then drift southwest before moving inland on Saturday.

Flooding from both the storm surge and rainfall could be "catastrophic", the National Hurricane Center warned. Additionally, tornadoes could arise in southeast North Carolina on Thursday and Friday.

For bonus chaos, you can also check out this webcam from an oil rig out in the ocean.

Weather forecasts estimate that the Category 2 storm could dump 17 trillion gallons of rain on the East Coast. Municipal power agencies, including New Bern and Southport, have not reported any outages yet.

Computer models of exactly what the storm might do varied, adding to the uncertainty. The more it hovers just off shore, the more potentially deadly storm surge it could push on-shore.

The surge will result in "large areas of deep inundation. enhanced by battering waves", the Weather Service said.

The storm surge - often the most perilous risk to life posed by any hurricane - is expected to inundate areas along the coast with saltwater that's 9-13 feet deep, from Cape Fear, N.C., to Cape Lookout, N.C.

"The limited number of hubs being impacted by Florence will likely limit the scale of disruption that cascades through the national air travel system", FlightAware said in its noon report.

"For a meandering storm, the biggest concern - as we saw with Harvey - is the huge amount of rainfall", said Chris Landsea, chief of tropical analysis and forecast branch at the National Hurricane Center.

Slower storms a thing of the future?

"It doesn't matter where you are", he said.

Hurricane Florence was more recently downgraded to a Category 2 storm.

But the most unsafe threat comes from Florence's rains and storm surge, which could bring flooding far inland. "Persons located within these areas should take all necessary actions to protect life and property from rising water and the potential for other unsafe conditions", the hurricane center briefing said.

Image: Waters come ashore in Avon, North Carolina.

Despite pleas from state and local officials, some residents rejected calls to evacuate. On Thursday morning, South 17th Street, usually teeming with commuter traffic by 6:30 a.m., was almost devoid of cars. Cooper and South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster told more than 1 million people who were directed to leave that if they don't evacuate, no one will come to save them. On Wednesday, officials said some of those shelters were at capacity, but in a statement early Thursday, county officials said they were "able to mobilize additional resources to accommodate the need for shelter space".

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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