Hurricane Florence now a Category 3, but remains ‘extremely dangerous’

Lester Mason
September 16, 2018

North and SC residents are running out of time to evacuate before Hurricane Florence roars in with pounding surf and driving rain that will bring potentially deadly flooding, officials warn.

While many coastal residents heeded mandatory evacuation orders, others boarded up homes and businesses and chose to fearless the storm, which is forecast to trigger severe flash flooding as it dumps as many as three feet (almost a meter) of rain in some areas. Forecasters also were tracking two other disturbances. North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper warned that staying put would be a grave mistake and said people in evacuation zones "need to get out now". "This is a storm that is historic, maybe once in a lifetime".

In Columbia, South Carolina, Barry Sparks, a 66-year-old retiree, was thinking of getting out after the path of the storm shifted somewhat to the south.

The NHC said Helene was weakening, however, and posed no danger to land.

Decreasing modestly in strength but expanding in size, Category 3 Hurricane Florence is less than 48 hours away from making landfall on the Southeast American coast with catastrophic impacts, from damaging winds to flash flooding to widespread power outages.

The eastbound lanes of several major highways have been shut down to allow for a smooth flow of traffic inland.

"In collaboration with state emergency agencies and the Georgia Hospital Association, we are monitoring bed counts daily so that we can quickly and accurately assist with any necessary evacuations", said Sydney Walker, spokesperson for Piedmont Athens Regional Medical Center.

The NHC said the first tropical storm-force winds of at least 63km/h would hit the region early on Thursday with the storm's centre reaching the coast Friday.

Florence is moving 16 miles per hour northwest with a maximum sustained wind of 120 miles per hour and the eye is expected to first land in southern North Carolina near the SC border.

"The power will be off for weeks", Long said. This storm is going to be a direct hit.

However, her agency was prepared to assist neighboring SC and North Carolina, which are in the landfall bullseye for Category 4 Hurricane Florence, according to some computer models. President Donald Trump declared a state of emergency on the federal level Tuesday for the Carolinas and Virginia. Streets were quiet with schools and many offices and businesses closed.

Beth Burgess, director of Emergency Management for Athens-Clarke County, said her main concern was for the safety and well being of local residents.

"Not much has changed since this morning", meteorologist Chris Fisher from the National Weather Service said. "I'll be living there for a few days".

The footage was captured by one of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)'s Hurricane Hunters, planes given whimsical nicknames that chase down storms - "Kermit" and "Miss Piggy". Walking his dog along empty streets, Belli said he's well stocked with food and water.

Officials in at least one area that ordered an evacuation will be going to homes to ask people planning to ride it out for information on their next of kin, CNN reported Wednesday.

In Virginia, 245,000 coastal residents were ordered to evacuate including from the Eastern Shore, another popular beachfront destination. Florence is expected to remain a Category 4 storm when it makes landfall.

He said there was "well over $US20 billion" in FEMA's disaster relief fund.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

Discuss This Article